INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – James Hinchcliffe’s run at Indy 500 redemption took a hit during qualifying Saturday.
On the second lap of his qualifying attempt, Hinchchliffe lost control and spun, crashing into the wall in turn two. He was able to get out of the car under his own power, but the #5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson car sustained heavy damaged to the left side.
— Larra Overton (@LarraOverton) May 18, 2019
“It’s our nightmare, no doubt about it, but I got a lot of faith in the crew [to] get this car or the backup car or whatever it is and take a shot at it tomorrow,” Hinchcliffe told reporters after being released from the infield hospital at IMS.
“It’s worse case scenario, it’s very tough,” Hinchcliffe admitted. “The guys have obviously worked really hard on getting that car together and we made a lot of progress yesterday on Fast Friday, making it better, making it faster. I don’t know if we just got a little greedy today on trim or downforce or what, but we will take a look at it and see what happened, get another car together and try to be smarter tomorrow.”
Hinchcliffe has had a turbulent relationship with IMS in his career. He sustained a severe injury in 2015 when a piece of debris pierced his leg in a practice crash. He underwent emergency surgery and missed the remainder of that season. Hinchcliffe rebounded in 2016 to win the pole for the Indianapolis 500. Last year, he was one of just two drivers to miss the field for the 102nd running of the Indy 500.
When asked about what happened in his qualifying run on Saturday, Hinchcliffe explained, “The car was definitely in the neutral side in three and four, but with the wind the way it was that kind of made sense, one and two actually felt really planted on that lap. I wasn’t too worried about the car there. I was actually going to dial some understeer in for the north side of the track but got to two and it just sort of suddenly snapped on me. [I] don’t know if it was a gust of wind or what it was, but when it’s gusty conditions like this at the Speedway and you’re a low downforce, this is what can happen.”
As the Arrow SPM drivers scramble to assemble a replacement car, Hinchcliffe will be part of Sunday’s last row shootout.