By Kirby Arnold, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS – After two days of practice with little more than close calls and accelerated heartbeats, preparations for the Indianapolis 500 came to a crunching halt Thursday afternoon when Santino Ferrucci spun in Turn 2 and pounded the SAFER Barrier at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Ferrucci was running with a large group of cars when his No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Hy-Vee-sponsored Honda broke loose midway through the turn and hit hard with the left rear, and then left front, before sliding along the outside wall down the back straight.
He exited the car with help from the AMR IndyCar Safety team and put little weight on his left leg as he was assisted into a safety car. After being checked at the infield medical center, Ferrucci was sent to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for more imaging on his leg.
Dr. Geoffrey Billows, IndyCar’s medical director, said Ferrucci later was walking and bearing weight on the leg and didn’t appear to have a significant injury. He expected Ferrucci to be able to drive on Friday, the final day of practice before qualifying, “but we will wait until the rest of the evaluation.”
Ferrucci’s car suffered significant damage to the back and left side. He’d recorded one of the fastest speeds of the day, 224.922 mph, that ranked third-best as practice entered the final hour.
It was the most significant incident of a relatively calm week.
Earlier Thursday, Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta found himself sandwiched between the wall and Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin exiting Turn 4 on the first lap after practice began. McLaughlin had slowed when traffic ahead was moving slowly farther down the main straight and Herta, approaching significantly faster, had little room to squeeze through but made only slight contact.