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IndyCar Fontana: Aleshin hospitalised after practice crash

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport driver Mikhail Aleshin was airlifted to hospital to Friday night with multiple injuries following an evening practice crash.
CLICK: Full evening practice results from Auto Club Speedway

Mikhail Aleshin has suffered multiple serious injuries in an accident that occurred during the final Friday evening practice session at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California ahead of this weekend's Verizon IndyCar Series season finale event.

Aleshin's car veered below the white line while closing up on the back of Scott Dixon as they exited turn 3 on the two-mile oval. That caused Aleshin to spin up the race track, where he went into the path of Charlie Kimball's car which was running at high speed. The contact launched Aleshin into the air and into the safety catchfence in turn 4 in what Ryan Hunter-Reay subsequently described as a "cheese grater situation," which then did devastating damage to the #7.

Aleshin was extracted from the wreckage and was described as awake and alert by the medical teams as he was stretchered away to the waiting ambulance. He was immediately airlifted by helicopter to the nearby Loma Linda University Medical Center where he was admitted and listed as being in a serious but stable condition.

IndyCar's medical consultant Dr Terry Trammell later said that the 27-year-old Russian had suffered a broken right clavicle, fractured ribs and chest injuries in the crash as well as a concussion.

Update on Saturday 4.30pm: The hospital upgraded Aleshin to a 'stable' condition following a procedure for a chest injury. He will remain hospitalised while he continues to recover.

Despite striking Aleshin's car head-on at high speed, Kimball was not injured and was quickly cleared and released by the in-field care centre at the Speedway. However his car was heavily damaged in the impact and the Ganassi team were soon hard at work preparing the spare chassis and a fresh Chevrolet engine to use in the MAVTV 500. Despite the rebuild, Kimball will still be able to take up his original sixth place on the grid for the start.

"It was a T-bone," recalled Kimball of the accident. "Next thing I knew he was accelerating up the hill in front of me.

"I saw him spinning and figured I'd either make it through the cloud of tyre smoke, or we were going to have a pretty hard hit ... I really had nowhere to go," he said, adding: "It looked huge."

Marco Andretti was also involved in the incident after his Andretti Autosport car ran into debris from the collision between Aleshin and Kimball. He was not hurt and his car sustained only minor damage.

The track workers were left busy overnight repairing the extensive damage to the catchfence, which had been partially ripped away from the support struts where Aleshin's car had impacted and spun around several times. A wheel from the car was still left embedded in the fence from the accident.

Aleshin had earlier recorded his best qualifying result on an oval race for the season and had been looking at an eighth place start on the grid for the final race of the season, but he will now be absent from the race when the green flag comes out.

The Fontana track can be a hard venue for IndyCar racing: During last year's finale, Justin Wilson broke his pelvis and suffered a pulmonary contusion in a five-car accident during last year's event; Greg Moore died in a crash at Auto Club Speedway during the 1999 CART World Series finale, since which time there have been considerable safety upgrades to the facility.

The polesitter for the race, Helio Castroneves, was sixth fastest in the final practice session when Aleshin's accident 20 minutes into the scheduled 30 minute session curtailed proceedings. Leading the timesheets was Ganassi's Ryan Briscoe with a lap of 32.9279s (218.660mph), putting him a little over a tenth of a second faster than his team mate Scott Dixon.

Earlier in the session, Dixon had triggered a yellow flag when he spun at pit exit. However in the reigning IndyCar Series champion's case there was no contact with anyone else or with the wall and he was able to return to pit lane and subsequently rejoined the session.

Will Power, who is still on course to clinch this year's championship despite a disappointing qualifying session that leaves him starting from the back row of the grid for the season finale, was third fastest in evening practice less than seven hundredths of a second ahead of Kimball, with James Hinchcliffe fifth fastest for Andretti Autosport.

The Friday evening practice was the last track opportunity for the drivers before the green flag comes out for the start of the race itself on Saturday evening at 7.20pm (3.20am). In the UK, the race will be shown live on digital subscription channel ESPN.

See full evening practice results from Auto Club Speedway



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin sits in his machine prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, his fourth series championship of his career. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon - 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion - Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates with team mates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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theeagle

August 30, 2014 4:17 PM

Wishing Mikhail a speedy recovery. IndyCar is very dangerous on any oval/ speedway and not just Auto Club Speedway at Fontana (also Indy 500 etc) and any driver who crashes at these kind of speeds (basically the stuff of airplanes) can expect more than a few bruises and a bad headache. Not the first time and wont be the last. This is said with the greatest of respect to all drivers and all involved.



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