LONG POND, Pa. (AP) – The Latest on the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway (all times local):
Takuma Sato trigged a dangerous wreck on the first lap of the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway, collecting five drivers, sending cars into the fence and bringing the race to a halt.
Sato tried to dart through an opening on a three-wide start to the race, an eerily similar look to an accident early in last year’s Pocono race that paralyzed driver Robert Wickens. Sato’s move took out Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi. Hunter-Reay was involved in last year’s wreck.
“I can’t even begin to understand how after last year Takuma thinks that’s acceptable,” Rossi said. “It’s disgraceful.”
Rossi, who won Pocono last year, saw his IndyCar championship hopes take a serious blow. He entered just 16 points behind leader Josef Newgarden.
Wickens said on Twitter that IndyCar should no longer race at the 2Â½-mile track. IndyCar and Pocono do not have a deal for a 2020 race.
“It’s just a toxic relationship and maybe it’s time to consider a divorce,” he wrote. “I’m very relieved (to my knowledge) that everyone is okay from that scary crash.”
The race was stopped as the catchfence was repaired.
IndyCar points leader Josef Newgarden starts on the pole at Pocono Raceway.
Newgarden holds a 16-point lead over Alexander Rossi, who also starts Sunday’s race on the front row. With four races left in the season, Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud is 47 points back while reigning series champion Scott Dixon trails the leader by 62 points. Rossi won last year in a race marred by the wreck that paralyzed Robert Wickens from the waist down.
Newgarden has two runner-up finishes at Pocono and has scored five top-fives overall since IndyCar returned to the track in 2013.
Pocono could be on the way out of IndyCar after the 2019 season, with the two sides yet to reach a deal on a return.
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