Three incidents mar Friday's practice for Indianapolis 500

Updated: May 11, 2008, 10:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

INDIANAPOLIS -- In a disturbing day of practice for the Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick's car struck another team's crew member and rookie driver Alex Lloyd hit the wall at more than 223 miles per hour.

[+] EnlargeAlex Lloyd
AP Photo/Dick DarlingtonAlex Lloyd's car breaks apart after he hits the wall at a speed in excess of 223 mph during a practice run Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Both incidents resulted in injuries.

Patrick's No. 7 Andretti Green Racing struck Dale Coyne Racing crewman Charles Buckman early Friday afternoon. Buckman, the chief mechanic for Mario Moraes' No. 19 car, suffered scalp and facial cuts and a concussion and was taken to a hospital.

"I really don't remember how it happened," Buckman said. "All I remember was talking with someone on [Patrick teammate] Marco Andretti's team and then everything is blank from that point. I will be OK and hopefully back to work in a day or two."

Patrick, who drives for Andretti Green Racing, did not talk about the accident other than to say, "What happened today was very unfortunate, but what is most important to me is that Chuck is going to be OK."

Coyne said: "[Buckman] just got clipped. He's got a light concussion. He was unconscious for about a minute and got some face cuts. They took him down to Methodist [Hospital] to do some checks, but they said they're sure he's going to be fine. He'll have a pretty nasty headache tomorrow.

USA Today reported that Buckman was scheduled to be released on Sunday but was held for further observation.

"It was a driver trying to get back [to the pits], and he should have been more aware too," Coyne continued. "It's an accident that happens. Practice day's a little quick, I think the pit lane speed could be a little slower on practice days because there's so many people out there, especially on a day like today when everybody's running, every pit box is full and everybody's running every minute of every hour they can because it's been raining all week and we knew [more rain] was coming this afternoon. It's a pretty busy place."

On Sunday, IRL president of competition Brian Barnhart said Patrick was not to blame.

"There isn't anything differently that Danica could have done," he said, according to USA Today.

Lloyd, meanwhile, complained of neck pain after hitting the wall hard in the first turn. The 23-year-old Englishman was examined at the track's infield hospital. Though a CT scan showed no broken bones, he was kept at the hospital as a precaution. His car was heavily damaged.

He was released Saturday from Methodist Hospital and returned to his Indianapolis home. Lloyd will meet with IndyCar physicians later in the week in order to get medical clearance to resume participation in this year's Indianapolis 500. His car is expected to return to the track on May 14 when practice resumes.

Lloyd, driving a Rahal Letterman Racing car in conjunction with Chip Ganassi [Lloyd is under contract to Target Ganassi Racing], appeared to run high into the turn and lost control, doing a quarter-spin up into the SAFER barrier. The impact did significant damage, including tearing off the rear wing and the left-rear suspension.

"I'm disappointed for Alex and his team and his crew," RLR owner Bobby Rahal said. "He'd been doing such a good job and was going well, but we'll fix the car and get ready for tomorrow."

Rookie Mario Dominguez of Mexico was unhurt in a minor crash when his car tapped the inside wall at slow speed in the warm-up lane. He was examined at the track hospital and cleared to drive.

"I am really disappointed. I was returning to the track for our second full run and I exited too fast coming out of the pits," said Dominguez, of Pacific Coast Motorsports. "I got a few laps at speed, and this is so unfortunate because we were on the way to making our car better. We are already behind, and I guess I was trying to rush it back out there."

Rain ended practice almost three hours early late in the afternoon, the third time this week track time has been curtailed by the weather. Practice was washed out entirely Wednesday and Thursday.

Thirty-three cars had been on the track, with Scott Dixon the fastest at 226.968 mph, followed by Marco Andretti at 226.710 and Tony Kanaan at 226.688.

Information from ESPN.com motorsports contributor John Schwarb and The Associated Press was used in this report.