Simona de Silvestro suffered burns to both hands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday when a mechanical problem resulted in her losing control of her car, which crashed upside down and caught fire with her inside it.
De Silvestro, from Switzerland, was practicing for next weekend’s 100th anniversary of the Indy 500. Her burns — second-degree burns on her right hand and superficial burns on her left — could keep her from attempting to qualify this weekend for the big race.
Although her team was preparing her backup car, and she will drive it if she’s cleared by Indianapolis Speedway medical officials, HVM Racing owner Keith Wiggins said it was possible the team would hire a driver to qualify the car in order for her to race it next weekend.
Wiggins said the driver, 22, who was burned during an accident at Texas Motor Speedway last year, was okay but shaken up.
If interested, you can watch the accident here.
Meantime, Penske driver Will Power topped the speed charts Thursday as practice resumed after two days of rain. His run of 39.5340 seconds around the 2.5-mile race track translates into 227.652 miles an hour as teams start to trim out the cars in advance of Saturday’s qualifying trials.
Canadian Alex Tagliani was second fast (39.6097/227/217 mph) and Penske’s Ryan Briscoe was third at 39.6097 — 227.217.
Paul Tracy was 12th fastest and James Hinchcliffe was 30th of 40 drivers who took time.
“We got a lot of work done today. We had made a change to the Sprott car back on Monday night that we have been waiting three days to try. It was good that we did it but unfortunately it wasn’t a step forward and it took quite a lot of downtime to go back on it and we missed a big chunk of the afternoon.
“But we still got a good number of laps in and really started to trim the car a bit more. We were focusing on running by ourselves and not really trying to compete in the ‘tow Olympics’ out there so I don’t think 30th on the time charts is very representative of where we are, speed-wise.
“We’re going to keep chipping away at it. Tomorrow we will focus on qualifying runs and we will see where we are at the end of the day.”
Television coverage of the Indy time trials starts on TSN2 Saturday at 11 a.m. and resumes at 4:30 p.m. Bump Day Sunday coverage will start on TSN2 at 4:30 p.m.
— Kimi Raikkonen makes his debut in NASCAR Friday night in the Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Speed Channel has the race at 8 p.m.
— The NASCAR All-Star race goes Saturday night at 7 p.m. By the way, Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne has been scratched again from all racing this weekend. He’s still suffering ill effects from that insect bite a month or so ago.
— TSN will carry qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain on Saturday at 7:55 a. m. and the race itself on Sunday at 7:55.
In local news:
— The Southern Ontario Sprints season starts Saturday night at Brighton Speedway. Four-time series champion Glenn Styres will pay out a bonus to the winner of every SOS feature this season. Styres owns Ohsweken Speedway, where the SOS runs on occasion.
— Speaking of Ohsweken, their season-opener scheduled for this weekend has been put off a week because spring rain has left the pit area and parking lot a quagmire. They’ll go next weekend, hopefully.
— Don’t forget the Victoria Day weekend programs at Mosport and Toronto Motorsports Park.
Me? I’ll be blogging from Indianapolis.