In Saturday evening’s race, Sebastien Bourdais was running seventh when he braked in reaction to Colton Herta slowing in front of him, heading for the pitlane.
Immediately behind Bourdais, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was caught by surprise and tapped the #14 car into a spin that sent the 37-time race-winner hard into the barrier on the outside of Turn 2.
Bourdais’ teammate Dalton Kellett at least managed to finish on the lead lap, albeit last, but that would be as good as it got for the squad.
With the second race, like the first, set by championship points due to the cancellation of qualifying, and with Bourdais having dropped from seventh to 14th due to his Saturday DNF, he was more vulnerable at the start of the race.
As they were rolling toward the green flag Dale Coyne Racing’s Pietro Fittipaldi hit Bourdais, knocking him into a spin that collected Alexander Rossi’s Andretti Autosport machine. The melee would also eliminate Conor Daly (Carlin), Ed Jones (Coyne) and Kellett.
“To lose the #14 both nights was just unbelievable,” Foyt told Autosport.
“On Saturday the guys worked until midnight and came in early on Sunday to fix it, and then to see both cars torn up before they even go to the start line…
“It was an expensive weekend for sure. I’d say half-a-million bucks [in damage] – $500k to $600k, I’d say.
“You always have to have potential accident damage built into your budgets, and we have a good number of parts because we’re ramping up to run four cars at Indy, with JR [Hildebrand] and Charlie [Kimball] joining us.”
Conor Daly, Carlin Chevrolet, Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda, Dalton Kellett, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet, Sebastien Bourdais, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet, Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Honda, Ed Jones, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda, Pietro Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda, crash
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
“But still, it’s a lot of work, a lot of parts and pieces we need to re-stock.
“Thankfully those were our two road course cars converted to oval trim, not any of the four cars slated for Indy, and the monocoques were fine so we’ll be able to strip them down and get them ready for the Indy road course next week.”
Although Bourdais backed hard into the barrier on Saturday, Foyt said the engine had survived without damage, and that the majority of the gearbox was also okay.
Unlike members of other teams, Foyt did not blame IndyCar for not running a qualifying session for Race 2 on Sunday morning, after the Saturday qualifying session was rained out.
“No, I get that IndyCar were doing their best to get the cars out in practice on Saturday. And if we’d run a qualifying session Sunday morning and you had a big issue, that means you could miss the race as well.”
He added that IndyCar may need to look at start procedures, and into whether any cars were varying their speed on the run to the green flag, that caused a ripple effect toward the back of the pack.
“I honestly haven’t examined the footage to see what caused all that,” he said.
“As I recall, as they got the one [formation] lap to go, the field was still pretty spread out so I think maybe those guys at the very back were carrying pretty good speed there, trying to get caught up going into that start.
“But it’s something that needs to be looked at because there were a lot of cars torn up there and that’s not a good look for the series.”