The IndyCar series is getting ready for its annual Indy 500 on May 24, and if this week’s tumultuous practice sessions are any indication, the race could potentially be full of carnage. We saw not one, not two, but four YouTube worthy incidents since May 12 that looked sketchy as hell, leading us to wonder if this isn’t a new strategy for getting more people to tune in – that is, turning the iconic contest into a crash-and-burn fest.
It began on Tuesday the 12th, when Simona De Silvestro’s No. 29 caught fire (due to the car’s fuel buckeye getting stuck in the open position) and she had to make a speedy escape after ditching her ride. For fans who have followed her career, the conflagration may not have been all that unique, given this is the third IndyCar in the last five years she’s had go up in flames.
But then the very next day three-time 500 winner Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 car got turned around and airborne in a spectacular wreck. Then, later in the day, Pippa Mann’s No. 63 got loose when she came up on slower traffic and she ended up pinballing off of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s walls.
Finally, a day after the Castroneves and Mann crashes, Josef Newgarden’s No. 21 machine also swapped ends and took flight. Coming out of the same corner Castroneves got airborne, no less.
The good news is no one was seriously hurt and all were cleared to resume racing the same day they wrecked. The bad news is the series is now under immense pressure to explain the last three incidents, which some are blaming on the cars’ new aero for this year – although logically if you’re taking a racer north of 220mph there must be very little margin for error.
And you thought you were having a bad week. Indy 500 qualifying goes down this weekend. Might be worth checking out if only to see if the series’ entries can make it through the sessions without balling up too many cars.