Marco Andretti sent flying in Lap 22 incident with Graham Rahal
After two relatively clean races, the third time wasn't the charm for the Dallara DW12 as it suffered its first major accident thanks to Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal.
On Lap 22 of Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Andretti looked to the inside of Rahal going into the right-hand Turn 8. Rahal then moved slightly to the inside, causing Andretti's No. 26 RC Cola Chevrolet to climb over the right side of Rahal's No. 38 Service Central Honda. The No. 26 was sent spinning in the air, but managed to stay right-side up before coming back down and then slamming into the tire barriers.
Both drivers disagreed about who was at fault, with Rahal contending that Andretti wasn't going to make the corner and Andretti calling Rahal's move a chop before saying that he could've been killed.
Needless to say, the image of Andretti going airborne and his subsequent comments (which were certainly understandable) are cringe-inducing to those who saw last year's IndyCar season finale in Las Vegas, where multiple cars were sent skyward in the 15-car crash that killed two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon.
So what of the rear wheel bumpers that were meant to help stop cars from flying in the event of an accident from the rear? Perhaps Andretti would've been higher in the air with the previous Dallara, which had no rear bumpers.
But when you have wheel-to-wheel impacts like this one, you're going to fly. That's just the way it is with open-wheel cars, and these type of incidents simply may not be written off completely unless the rear wheels are completely enclosed. I'm not sure how that would go over with a fan base that's already been mixed about the DW12's unique looks.
We'll have to see when and how INDYCAR reacts to this going forward.