By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
LONG POND, PA — A massive incident on Lap 8 of the ABC Supply 500 has brought out the red flag in the 14th race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Robert Wickens were racing in the upper portion of the field when the two had contact with Wickens’s right front and Hunter-Reay’s left rear.
The No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda was going low on the No. 28 DHL Honda and after contact in the Tunnel Turn, Hunter-Reay spun backwards into the wall and Wickens went into the catch fencing, his car spinning like a top.
Pietro Fittipaldi, James Hinchcliffe and Takuma Sato were also involved in the incident. All three of those drivers plus Hunter-Reay were checked and released from the infield care center and cleared to drive. Wickens went into a helicopter en route to Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, PA.
“[Wickens] had a run out of Turn 1 and came up alongside of me but I was in the draft with Power in front of me so I started pulling ahead,” said Hunter-Reay. “As we got to Turn 2 he was at my corner at best, barely there. It’s one of those corners where if you’re not up alongside, you know, it’s the first lap of the race. I thought that I had at that point got to clearing him and I left a half lane if not more. That’s neither here nor there right now, we’re just thinking about Robert right now.”
“Just unfortunate,” said Sato. “I know Hunter-Reay’s car hit the wall and I immediately backed off full force but it’s clearly covered by oil, my helmet, my car is completely covered in oil so there was nothing I could do, just straight into the wall.”
“I’m feeling great, thank God,” said Fittipaldi. “Obviously I’m a little bit sore from the impact but I’m 100 percent, no broken bones so thankfully I’m fine. I just saw a lot of smoke ahead, I was in the middle of the corner behind Ed (Carpenter), we had made a decent start in the race and it was just all full of smoke and when I saw I was going to hit Hinch head on and I had to slam on the brakes and try to get low, when I did that I think with the debris and cold tires I just lost the car and hit him sideways.”
Hinchcliffe declined to speak after the incident out of respect to Wickens. The red flag was out for an hour and 56 minutes.
Final finishing positions:
18. Ryan Hunter-Reay
19. Robert Wickens
20. James Hinchcliffe
21. Takuma Sato
22. Pietro Fittipaldi