Indianapolis 500 qualifying delayed after Carpenter’s crash – Watch

Indianapolis 500 qualifying delayed after Carpenter's crash - Watch

Ed Carpenter walks away from scary crash at Indianapolis 500 practice.

CFH Racing owner/driver Ed Carpenter was uninjured in a frightening crash during morning practice prior to Indianapolis 500 qualifying. His No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet appeared to lose control coming out of Turn 2, flipped and tumbled after striking the outside wall SAFER barrier. The car slid on the roll cage and came to a stop, where Carpenter was able to climb out and walk to the waiting safety vehicle. He was visibly frustrated and tossed his helmet HANS device into the car.

Saturday’s qualifying session was cancelled due to heavy rain in Indianapolis. The series will attempt to qualify the full 33 car field during a modified session today.

This is the third similar incident of the week for a Chevrolet. Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves crashed in Turn 1 and went airborne in a spectacular crash. On-board footage captured the wild ride, as Castroneves landed back on his tires after a complete vertical flip. Carpenter’s CFH teammate Josef Newgarden had a similar crash on Thursday but landed upside-down. Neither driver was injured, but speculation immediately rose as both of these cars were Chevy-powered with the Chevrolet superspeedway aero kits. Carpenter, today, also flipped a Chevrolet.

The Indy 500 marks the first use of the new superspeedway aerodynamic kits, and series officials and the manufacturers have downplayed the role of the kits to the rash of airborne incidents.

After Carpenter’s incident, a group of high powered officials and IndyCar drivers/owners were seen gathering to discuss their concerns. Among the group was Team Penske owner Roger Penske, Target Chip Ganassi owner Chip Ganassi, IndyCar CEO Mark Miles and IndyCar president of operations and competition Derrick Walker.

Carpenter spoke with the media outside the Infield Care Center after being checked out after this morning’s crash.

“I definitely believe that there is an issue going on that we clearly didn’t have in the past,” said Carpenter. “Hopefully the series will be smart and react sooner rather than later so we don’t have to keep seeing things happen like this.”

The practice session was red flagged so track workers could repair the catch fence and SAFER barrier as well as clean up debris from the incident. The delay continues as officials continue to meet.

Below are the announced qualifying changes, per INDYCAR:

Because of three separate, single-car incidents in the past five days in which race cars have gotten airborne in practice, INDYCAR also announced the following measures for qualifications:

— The boost level, which was increased from 130 kPa to 140 kPa for “Fast Friday” practice May 15 and scheduled qualifications May 16, was returned to 130 kPa for Pole Day qualifications. That relates to about a 40 horsepower reduction to the Chevrolet and Honda 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. The boost level will remain at 130 kPa for final practice on Coors Light Carb Day on May 22 and the 500 Mile Race on May 24.

— The aerodynamic bodywork package that Chevrolet- and Honda-aligned entries qualifying with must be utilized in the 200-lap race.

“This morning we saw a third car get into wall, turn backwards and lift into the air. We’ve said all along we want to go faster, but we want to do so safely,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “As a precautionary measure, INDYCAR will require that the cars qualify today in the same aero set up that they will run in the Indianapolis 500 next weekend. Also, for today, boost levels will return to race conditions. Given these changes, we have elected to not award points for today’s qualifications.

“Safety for drivers and fans is the top priority for INDYCAR and we will continue to be proactive in our research and development to improve all safety aspects of our sport.”