Spencer Pigot “remembers everything” of Indy 500 horror crash

Spencer Pigot says he has full recollection of the monstrous shunt that ended his Indianapolis 500 and caused the race to end under caution.

Driving the Citrone/Buhl Autosport-Honda run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan, he was in 15th on Lap 194 when the rear of his car slid wide as he approached the exit of Turn 4. The car had gone through more than 180 degrees before its first impact so it was the front-left wheel that struck the outside wall first, before both left side wheels hit again.

Then the #45 car was spat back across the track, revolving as it went, and viciously struck the tire-protected attenuator at the end of the pit wall with the right side of his car. This bounced the car into another spin back across the track where it thankfully stopped just short of another rear impact.

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With a little assistance from the IndyCar’s AMR Safety Team, Pigot emerged from the cockpit.

He told Motorsport.com: “I then got light-headed and the Safety guys say I did pass out for a few seconds but then I woke up and I was fine. And I remember everything about the crash.

“The car was coming back to me in that last stint and I was feeling pretty good. I had passed JR [Hildebrand] and was trying to lap Sage [Karam] so I could go get Will [Power] who was the next car in front.

“I just got loose on the exit of Turn 4 and it went super quick. When I hit the outside wall, I remember thinking, ‘I hope I don’t hit the pit entrance wall’ – and then as I was sliding back across the track I looked to my right to see where I was headed. I saw where I was headed, and thought, ‘Oh ****’… Absolutely dead-on with the attenuator.”

Spencer Pigot, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing w/ Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda

Spencer Pigot, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing w/ Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda

Photo by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

Paul Tracy on the NBC broadcast made the observation that the aeroscreen probably prevented the tires in the tire stack of that attenuator from invading the area around the cockpit and possibly hitting Pigot’s helmet, thereby saving his life. While IndyCar president Jay Frye has told Motorsport.com he needs a few days to go over the data, Pigot himself feels Tracy’s more instant assessment of the situation may well be true.

“Yeah, I think that definitely I had a lot more protection than I would have had in that accident a year ago,” he said. “I’ve not seen pictures of the car or the car itself to see how marked up the aeroscreen was, but I'm sure it played a role in helping protect me. If we’d had just a Halo, I think stuff could have gotten in there.”

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Asked if he had any bruises from seatbelts or cockpit sides after being so violently thrown around in the cockpit, Pigot said not.

“For a few hours after, I had a few red marks on my hips but now they've all gone,” he commented. “So that's pretty good. Dr. Trammell said that he looked at my seat and said it was made really well, the way it was molded around my body and how much protection is built in.”

Pigot left the Methodist Hospital “about 9-9.30pm” yesterday night, tweeted a “thumbs-up” picture and says the delay was purely administrational.

“It wasn't like I was there for three hours receiving treatment or anything, it was just kind of a long process. They ran some tests and it took a little while to get them back and as soon as they ran the tests and some X-rays they were happy to let me go home. Then we waited a little while to get some scans on a disk to take to the IndyCar doctors.”

Strong impression at Citrone/Buhl

Spencer Pigot, RLL w/ Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda

Spencer Pigot, RLL w/ Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda

Photo by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

Pigot, the 2015 Indy Lights champion, said he felt reasonably satisfied with his performances for Citrone/Buhl, a new venture to IndyCar that teamed up with the Bobby Rahal/David Letterman/Mike Lanigan squad for just the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indy 500.

Pigot starred at the former event, and only a mechanical failure prevented him from finishing on the podium. For the 500, he qualified 12th, just three places behind RLL fulltimer Graham Rahal, and after wrestling with handling difficulties earlier in the race had put on a fine performance in the second half.

“Yeah, it's definitely a good experience to be back with Rahal Letterman Lanigan,” Pigot said of the squad that gave him his initial three starts in IndyCar before he became a fixture at Ed Carpenter Racing, “and obviously the partnership with Citroen/Buhl was a great opportunity.

“Yeah, the GP was going really well but we didn't finish, and then the 500 practice and qualifying everything went smooth. I think we made good progress and got up to speed quite quickly, considering it was always gonna be a bit tricky having not driven an oval for so long.

“The race was was okay. You know, we had a good first stint but as the pitstop cycle unfolded and some people stayed out, we ended up being further back in the pack and it just kind of got looser, trickier and trickier. But yeah, there were times in the race where I thought we were quite competitive and other times where it was really tough.

“But overall I think there's definitely some good things to take away from our two races together and yeah, like you said, hopefully it'll turn out to be for more than just two races. The crash was unfortunate for everyone involved but you know we definitely gave it our best shot.

“I don't know what the odds are, to do any more races this year. That's something hopefully we can talk about now that the 500 is over. There's obviously some races still coming up and double headers that look attractive. And who knows? There might be one or two more added, I think the schedule is still evolving.

“I’d like to think that I'm the first person they’d call if they want to do more races this year, and looking into next year as well.”

Pigot seemed destined to at least join teammate Graham Rahal on the podium at GP Indy in July.

Pigot seemed destined to at least join teammate Graham Rahal on the podium at GP Indy in July.

Photo by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

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About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Indy 500
Drivers Spencer Pigot
Teams Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Author David Malsher-Lopez
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