IMS crashes highlight importance of safety teams

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 14, 2015)-- IndyCar fans are still talking about dramatic crash video from Wednesday. Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves sent his car airborne but walked away from the crash unhurt.

It puts in the spotlight the specialized safety measures in place for IndyCar drivers.

“It happens, trying the limits with the new aero kit, trying here and there. We’ve got to find out for sure that’s not the right direction,” said Castroneves after the crash.

IndyCar drivers are experimenting this year with new aerodynamic kits that change the flow of air over the car.

“The thing that concerns me, is you have Helio getting in the air backward,” said Mike Ebaugh.

Longtime race fans like the alley cats say Castroneves' crash Wednesday worried even them.

“It was scary. He didn’t get out for a few minutes,” said Kim Cosby.

And there to make sure he got out was a safety crew. Safety crews travel with IndyCar. They are highly trained, from professionals skilled at getting drivers out of cars to doctors offering immediate medical care.

“Having a safety crew is so important that knows these cars, that knows these drivers. It really saved my legs at the end of the day,” said Davey Hamilton.

Hamilton is an 11-time Indy 500 starter, who almost lost his legs after a catastrophic crash in Texas in 2001.

He said safety crews step in and save lives when they have to, and it’s something he will always be grateful for.

“The training they have, knowing what these cars are about, how to extract us out of the cars. And just having the best medical staff there is, period. We have the best care there is, for sure,” Hamilton said.

On Thursday, Josef Newgarden flipped his car during practice at IMS. He was uninjured in the crash.

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