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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

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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)
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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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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