A difficult week became more taxing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on "Fast Friday" when accidents and renewed rainstorm activity turned a gray day even uglier around the racetrack. One of the incidents was as unpredictable as it was harrowing, and sent Andretti Green Racing's Danica Patrick to the garages shaken.
Patrick struck another team's crew member as she entered her pitbox at approximately 2:30pm EDT, bringing the ambulance down pit road to attend to Charles Buckman. Dale Coyne Racing's crew chief was taken to Methodist Hospital, suffering head lacerations and a concussion.
The incident was as bizarre as it was quick. Buckman apparently wandered onto the pit road from the entrance to the track from Gasoline Alley, away from the Dale Coyne Racing pits. According to eyewitness accounts, the man started walking on the side of pit road where the team's service their cars which is the area separated from the team non over-the-wall crew members. The low concrete wall also keeps spectators away from the pitlane traffic and the race cars.
Patrick made contact with Buckman, sending him flying into the air and landing hard on the asphalt surface. He appeared to suffer a temporary loss of consciousness in addition to lacerations of the scalp and face areas.
Buckman was seen in the trackside Clarian Medical Center before being sent on to downtown Indianapolis for closure of his wounds and further observation at Methodist Hospital.
Patrick made a brief statement after the track closed today, expressing her thoughts for Buckman and his family. "It was really, really unfortunate," she said. "Thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Buckman, with his family; and hopefully he can get back to the track soon to do what he loves."