JR Hildebrand was at a loss to explain the crash that brought his third day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 to an early end.
The DRR driver became the first this year to find the Brickyard wall when his No.66 car drifted up into the fence between Turns 3 and 4 late in the afternoon.
“We were making some good progress with the car today,” said Hildebrand, who was checked at the Speedway’s infield care center and cleared to drive.
“We are chasing the same things with the car as everyone else. And we looked like we were getting there with the race setup. We were looking forward to making a long run at the end of the day in traffic. We weren’t that deep into the run and we had something happen in Turn 3 with the car.
“We are still analyzing what might have happened. The car felt out of the ordinary. I didn’t feel like I was losing the car at all. I thought for sure I could save the car, which why I’m a little confused on what happened. I did have enough warning to keep it under control. It felt like I had a wacky wheel of a shopping cart because the car kept wobbling a bit. But I’m fine and ready to go tomorrow. I feel badly for the crew guys getting the car repaired now.”
Hildebrand ended the day with a best lap of 223.351mph, while teammate Sage Karam finished up fifth fastest at 224.920mph.
“A lot of guys were out there running qualifying simulations and we didn’t do that today,” Karam said.
“We really focused on the race car setup again. We struggled a little at first, but we made great changes at lunchtime. We came back out and the car felt much better. We were able to mix it up with a lot of people out there. Tomorrow is ‘Fast Friday’ so we’ll get the extra boost. We’ll do our qualifying sims tomorrow. I need to get a good night’s sleep tonight as the next few days are stressful, but I’m looking forward to it.”