Following a crash on the last lap of Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, JR Hildebrand suffered a broken bone in his left hand.
Throughout the race, Hildebrand had run just outside of the top-10 and was trying to use the final restart with four laps left to get by Mikhail Aleshin for 11th. Going into the corner, though, the pair made contact with Hildebrand’s No. 21 Chevrolet climbing over the back of Aleshsin’s No. 7 Honda.
“I was out of push-to-pass, so I was trying to make a proper, full-out pass down the front straightaway,” Hildebrand said. “He had been starting to move over, not a major blocking maneuver but enough to assert his line. He hit the brake a lot earlier than I was expecting and I ended up running into the back of him. In doing so, it ripped the steering wheel from my hand, and I ended up tweaking it.”
INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows did not clear the Ed Carpenter Racing driver to return competing and will re-evaluate the situation later this week. The Verizon IndyCar Series has a week off before the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
“At the end of the day, to come home with an 11th place finish isn’t terrible,” he continued. “It is a bummer though as we were certainly on our way to finishing in the top 10 and now we are in a bit of a jam going forward. Hopefully, I can get back to it here before the next race.”
Aleshin crossed the finish line in 11th but was penalized one position by INDYCAR for blocking, crediting him with 12th. The Russian was running in the top-10, but contact with Tony Kanaan caused damage to his front wing.
“I felt like I could hold my position,” he said. “Then obviously, Hildebrand crashed into my rear and destroyed my chance to make the top-10. But positively, we had a really good car, and I’m very happy for the team and for James (Hinchcliffe). I think the team gave a great effort this weekend and we just need to keep the momentum.”
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