INDY CRASH A SETBACK FOR SHARP AND THE PATRON PANTHER CREW INDIANAPOLIS, IN, Friday, May 8, 2009: Tequila Patron driver Scott Sharp suffered a setback in practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today with a turn one crash putting the ...
INDY CRASH A SETBACK FOR SHARP AND THE PATRON PANTHER CREW
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, Friday, May 8, 2009: Tequila Patron driver Scott Sharp suffered a setback in practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today with a turn one crash putting the #16 Panther Racing car out of action.
Sharp was coming up to speed on his second run of the day when the car spun exiting the first turn. The Panther Racing car spun through the short shoot apron before sliding back up the banking into the safer barrier - inflicting severe damage to the right-hand-side of the car.
In preparation for tomorrow's first day of qualifying, the team had begun aerodynamically trimming out the car in search of outright speed just prior to the accident. Sharp visited the infield care center after the crash but was not injured in the impact.
The Panther Racing crew have now stripped the #16 car and sent the tub of the Tequila Patron-sponsored car back to its shop in Indianapolis for repairs.
Sharp, Tequila Patron and Panther Racing now face a race against time to get back on track in time for pole day qualifying. The Jupiter, FL driver may now have to set his sights on clinching a spot in his 14th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when the grid spots 12 to 22 will be locked in.
"It was a tough day today. Our crash was obviously a bit of a setback and pretty disappointing. We struggled for speed a little earlier in the day in the Tequila Patron car and we were working down to a qualifying type set-up on the run when I crashed.
"We made a change to the rear downforce and a corresponding change to the front to balance the car.
"Unfortunately, we ended up with way more front downforce than we would have liked and the first time I leaned on the car it snapped around.
"I tried to keep it off the wall - I missed the first one but it spun down to the apron and then back up the banking again and had a pretty solid it.
"We ended up with quite a bit of right hand side damage. The Panther Racing boys are getting stuck in to try to fix the car but unfortunately we ended up with some damage to the shelf part of the tub and we have to get some carbon work done.
"The guys have taken the tub back to the shop to work on it overnight and they'll bring it back to finish putting it together in the morning.
"Hopefully, we can make it back out tomorrow afternoon but we'll probably end up aiming to be a second day qualifyer.
"The spin caught me completely by surprise. It just snapped when I was right at the exit of turn one and I thought we were OK because it spun right away from the outside wall.
"I was trying to slow it down, jumping on the brakes as hard as I could but nothing was really happening. The tires were pretty flat spotted or blown out at that stage.
"I was looking left and right trying to keep it off the wall but once it hit the hinge point where the banking meets the apron it shot me straight up into the fence."