Photo: Colin Mayr/ASP, Inc.

RLL Issues Statement on Pocono Crash, Rosenqvist Cleared to Drive

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Sunday’s opening lap fiasco is still in the minds of everyone around the NTT IndyCar Series paddock.

A five-car crash in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway has had several people angry towards Takuma Sato, wishing he should face a penalty from INDYCAR Race Control for his driving style being too aggressive.

Not only that, they’ve been extremely vocal about removing the 2.5-mile circuit from the calendar with both the death of Justin Wilson in 2015 and Robert Wickens’ season-ending crash from a year ago still lingering on the people’s minds.

Fortunately, the five drivers involved (Sato, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist) were all okay with only Sato and Rosenqvist unable to return into the fight.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Sato’s team) issued a statement and released a surveillance video of the incident Tuesday.

They stated that Sato being blamed for the accident must be addressed by showing a seven-minute video on their Facebook page.

Their conclusion was that Sato held his racing line rather than going down on Rossi.

Team Statement – Pocono

STATEMENT FROM RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING ON THE OPENING LAP CRASH AT POCONO RACEWAY ON AUGUST 18, 2019Following the events on Lap 1 of Sunday’s INDYCAR race at Pocono Raceway, we are relieved that all drivers emerged unhurt from the crash. Normally in a situation of this nature it is not necessary for a team to comment but following the accusations levied at Takuma, and after reviewing Takuma’s onboard data and camera, we feel that a clarification is necessary. The data and video clearly shows that Takuma did not turn down the track into Alexander in this incident and in fact the first steering wheel movement made by Takuma was to the right, as he tried to correct his car after the initial contact. This sort of accident is part and parcel of this type of racing and with track position being vital at every stage of each race is, in our view, a part of the sport. It’s a racing incident and we as a team wish to publicly state that we stand behind our drivers and have absolute faith in their ability to race and perform at the highest level for RLL.This was a racing incident which unfortunately may have some championship implications. A crash at Pocono impacted our title aspirations in 2015 while second in the standings so we know the frustration drivers and teams experienced. As always, we are thankful for the quick response of the AMR Safety Team.

Posted by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

“Following the events on Lap 1 of Sunday’s INDYCAR race at Pocono Raceway, we are relieved that all drivers emerged unhurt from the crash. Normally in a situation of this nature it is not necessary for a team to comment but following the accusations levied at Takuma, and after reviewing Takuma’s onboard data and camera, we feel that a clarification is necessary.

“The data and video clearly shows that Takuma did not turn down the track into Alexander in this incident and in fact the first steering wheel movement made by Takuma was to the right, as he tried to correct his car after the initial contact.

“This sort of accident is part and parcel of this type of racing and with track position being vital at every stage of each race is, in our view, a part of the sport.  It’s a racing incident and we as a team wish to publicly state that we stand behind our drivers and have absolute faith in their ability to race and perform at the highest level for RLL.

“This was a racing incident which unfortunately may have some championship implications. A crash at Pocono impacted our title aspirations in 2015 while second in the standings so we know the frustration drivers and teams experienced.  As always, we are thankful for the quick response of the AMR Safety Team.”

As for Rosenqvist, the driver who took the most serious hit after his car rode the Turn 2 wall with the left front wheel making contact towards the fence, he’s cleared to resume racing activities after a medical re-evaluation was done. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and was later checked and released hours after the crash.

Rosenqvist is the current INDYCAR rookie points leader and sits ninth in the championship standings with just three races to go, beginning with Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. He's also covered Idaho Athletics and high school football as both a writer and videographer. Additionally, he spent 2017 writing several racing columns as an independent journalist. Luis does video and photography, and is a fan of Seattle sports, a music critic and a motivator who wants to impact people's lives.