By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Simon Pagenaud and Meyer-Shank Racing are playing the waiting game after the Frenchman went for a wild ride in a crash during Saturday morning practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In one of the most violent crashes in recent memory in the NTT IndyCar Series, Pagenaud lost control of his No. 60 Honda after what was described by the team as “manufacturer brake failure,” sending him careening off course and barrel rolling a number of times before striking the tire barrier and coming to rest upside down.
Pagenaud was able to extricate himself from his battered machine with the help of the AMR Safety Team, taking a couple of moments to kneel down and collect his thoughts before starting the walk to a waiting ambulance, giving the fans a wave before making the mandatory trip to the Infield Care Center.
A short time later, the 2016 IndyCar champion and 2019 winner of the Indianapolis 500 was checked and released, seemingly no worse for wear afterwards.
“It was a hell of a ride that’s for sure,” Pagenaud said. “We had something go wrong and I couldn’t slow down. I tried to make the corner anyways. I know that gravel is deadly, Michael Andretti has done it so I guess I joined another legend, so that’s cool, I guess. I was just trying to bail out. Its downhill, which is nuts. The car took off, I hit the gravel and it just rolled. I’m just glad I didn’t go over the tire wall.
“So glad that we have the Aeroscreen, so thankful that the IndyCar has the Aeroscreen.”
As is protocol when a high-G Force incident takes place, IndyCar officials did not clear Pagenaud to get back on track, explaining in a statement that he would be re-evaluated on Sunday morning by the INDYCAR medical team to determine his status for the race.
For his part, Pagenaud explained that he felt no ill-effects from the crash and was ready to get back out the horse, but will be awaiting the doctor’s decision to see if he will spend Sunday in the cockpit or on the sidelines.
“I’m ready, I can get back in right now. It’s not a problem,” Pagenaud said. “It will be the doctor’s decision. There is a protocol to follow to keep the drivers safe. We will see what they say. But very unfortunate day for us.”
Should Pagenaud be unable to race, Meyer-Shank has alerted Conor Daly to be on stand-by should his services be needed. Daly most recently raced with Ed Carpenter Racing before losing his ride following the Detroit race less than a month ago.