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POCONOTES: No Injuries In Scary Pit Road Accident

August 23, 2016 GMT

LONG POND — It looked a lot worse than it was. Helio Castroneves and two other drivers were involved in a scary pit road accident during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Monday afternoon. During a green-flag pit-stop sequence on lap 64, Alexander Rossi was exiting his stall when his car made contact with Charlie Kimball’s No. 83 Chevrolet, which was slowing to enter his stall. The impact lifted Rossi’s No. 98 Honda off the ground and over the top of Castroneves’ No. 3 Chevrolet, which was coming out of his stall. The front tire of Rossi’s car hit near the cockpit of Castroneves’ car and ripped off the right mirror. “I was coming out of the pits. All of the sudden, there was a car on top of me,” Castroneves said. “Inside the car, I was actually more protected than what it looked like. Sometimes people don’t realize the Verizon IndyCar Series are so much about safety and today is the proof of that.” Although his team tried to repair the damage, Castroneves did not return to the race and finished 19th. Rossi, who was running in the top five at the time, also did not return and wound up 20th. Had he returned to the race, he would have been penalized for causing avoidable contact and contact with pit equipment. “Everyone is going to have their own opinion, but I was staying in the slow lane, “ said Rossi, this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner. “Obviously, I’m not in charge of releasing cars so I don’t know the gap that needs to be had. I was sent. I knew there was a car to my right and I stayed in the slow lane. So, that was all I could do.” Kimball was able to continue and finished 15th, one lap down. “I don’t know what the 98 (Rossi) and 3 (Castroneves) were doing there,” Kimball said. “We were coming into pit lane and they just sent the cars into the side of me. I’m just really disappointed with all of that.” Celebratory win Team Penske is celebrating its 50th anniversary in motor sports. Monday’s victory by Will Power was the 186th IndyCar victory for team owner Roger Penske and his ninth at Pocono. Mark Donohue won the first IndyCar race at the 2.5-mile triangular track in 1971. Other winning Penske drivers here are A.J. Foyt (1979, 1981), Bobby Unser (1980), Rick Mears (1982, 1985) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2014). Power was happy to add his name to the list. “It’s amazing that Roger won a race back then and everything that’s happened since that time that Team Penske has done,” Power said. “It’s phenomenal the amount of wins and poles and laps led — everything about it. “It’s a privilege to drive for Roger. Every weekend, you have a chance to win.” Getting close Russian driver Mikhail Aleshin is zeroing in on his first Verzion IndyCar Series victory. His second-place finish in the ABC Supply 500 tied his career best at Houston in June 2014. In 18 races during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Aleshin led a total of four laps. In the past two races, he has led 120 laps, including a race-high 87 at Pocono on Monday. He was trying to become the sixth driver in 23 IndyCar races here to win from the pole. “I want to say big thanks to my team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports,” Aleshin said. “I really am proud of this team. I mean, they did a great progress during the last couple of races. We’ve been through many things this year. We didn’t give up. We just became stronger, and you can see the results.” Poconotes Sunday’s rainout affected the attendance. There were approximately 10,000 fans on hand Monday. “I think it was going to be a really good crowd (Sunday) — a lot more than it has been the past two years,” Power said. “So it was unfortunate. I expect to come back here next year and have a very strong crowd.” ... Takumo Sato’s day was a short one. He crashed his car in turn 3 on lap 2 and finished 22nd. ... Marco Andretti from nearby Nazareth finished 12th. ... Pocono Raceway made a donation to the Justin Wilson Children’s Fund and had Wilson’s initials painted at the start-finish line. Wilson died from injuries suffered in last year’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono, leaving behind wife Julia and daughters Jane and Jessica. Contact the writer: swalsh@timesshamrock.com @swalshTT on Twitter