FONTANA (CBSLA.com/AP) — Rescue crews Friday attended to rookie IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin following a frightening crash in the final practice session for the series season finale.
The multi-vehicle wreck occurred during Turn 4 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. The other drivers involved included Marco Andretti, Sebastian Bourdais, and Charlie Kimball.
Following the crash, a large hole was visible in the catch fencing after Aleshin’s car flew up against it. IndyCar had no immediate update on Aleshin’s condition.
Aleshin spun when he went below the white line in the turn. The Russian driver slid back up the track and collided with Kimball, sending Aleshin’s car flying into the catch fence and lodging a wheel in the fence.
Safety personnel gathered around the wreck of Aleshin’s car. He was removed on a stretcher.
Although IndyCar racing on ovals can be spectacular, the risk factor is high. Dan Wheldon was killed in a 15-car accident in the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas, another high-banked oval.
Aleshin is the first Russian driver in IndyCar history, joining a team with title contender Simon Pagenaud this year after a career in open-wheel racing in Europe. He is 15th in the overall points standings with seven top-10 finishes this season, including a career-best fifth-place finish at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.
The IndyCar series finale is scheduled for Saturday night. Aleshin was eighth in qualifying earlier Friday, easily the best finish by a rookie.
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