Drivers avoid serious injury


INDIANAPOLIS -- Bryan Herta, Felipe Giaffone and Alex Barron
hit the first-turn wall Saturday just seconds after starting their
qualification attempts for the Indianapolis 500. They were examined
at the infield hospital and released.

Herta had just completed a warmup lap and taken the green
starting flag when he made a quarter-spin and his Dallara struck
the wall at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He made another half-spin,
and the car stopped between the first and second turns with heavy
damage to the right side and rear.

Herta flashed a thumbs-up sign as he was wheeled on a stretcher
to an ambulance for the ride to the hospital, where he was treated
for cuts to his right leg and foot. He will be examined again
Sunday before he is cleared to drive.

About 40 minutes later, Giaffone crashed at almost the same
place on the track as he started his qualification run. The car
made a half-spin and bumped the wall with the left side.

Giaffone was not injured and was cleared to drive by the
speedway medical director Henry Bock.

Barron also had just finished a warmup lap when he lost control
in the first turn during the final half-hour of qualifications. The
car struck the wall with a shower of sparks trailing behind and had
heavy damage to the left side and rear.

Barron had a bruised right foot but was cleared to drive.