See the violent crash that red-flagged IndyCar's Pocono race on the opening lap

Takuma Sato triggered a violent multi-car incident on the first lap of the NTT IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, collecting five drivers, sending a car into the catchfence and resulting in a lengthy red flag.

Heading towards turn 2, Sato took Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay three-wide and the resulting contact collected James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist. Rosenqvist was launched into the air nose-first and into the catchfence. It was reminiscent of the incident early in the 2018 Pocono race that left Robert Wickens paralyzed. This time, the airborne tub did rise into the fencing — slamming hard onto the pavement. Sato ended up upside-down on Hunter Reay’s car.

“I can’t even begin to understand how after last year Takuma thinks that is acceptable,” Rossi said. “It’s disgraceful and it’s unacceptable.”

Rossi was uninjured, but certainly secondary to his health is that the crash dealt a blow to his championship chances. He was just 16 points behind rival Josef Newgarden in the standings.

Hunter-Reay felt like drivers had learned from last year not to be this aggressive early at Pocono, but also conceded that track position was that important.

“My view is that it’s ridiculous,” Hunter-Reay said. “Thank God everyone is alright. I had hoped we learned our lesson… I need to look at the replay before I comment, but all I know is that I was minding my own business and now I’m talking to you outside of the medical center.”

Sato was contrite, but did not totally accept blame.

“I feel sorry for the guys,” he said. “Ryan and I were obviously racing (out of) Turn 1, and it looks like Alexander had a slow start and we went left and right (of him). I thought I was clear, and unfortunately we got together.”

Every driver with the exception of Rosenqvist was treated and released from the medical center. IndyCar medical director Geoffrey Billows told the television broadcast that Rosenqvist was being sent to a nearby hospital’s trauma center for further evaluation.

Billows called the injuries non-life-threatening” and also suggested, “I think he will be fine.” He did not detail what the injuries were.  He was released from the hospital before the race ended on Sunday.

Wickens posted commentary on Twitter that IndyCar should no longer race at the aged 2.5-mile track in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The track is currently negotiating with the sanctioning body but does not have a contract for the 2020 season.

 

How many times do we have to go through the same situation before we can all accept that an IndyCar should not race at Pocono. It’s just a toxic relationship and maybe it’s time to consider a divorce. I’m very relieved (to my knowledge) that everyone is okay from that scary crash

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