Hunter-Reay opens up on aeroscreen’s role after Barber crash

Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Ryan Hunter-Reay has given more insight into the wreck at Barber Motorsports Park in which his aeroscreen protected his head from Josef Newgarden’s front wheel.

Speaking ahead of the second round of the NTT IndyCar Series at St Petersburg this weekend, Hunter-Reay said he had no clue about the aeroscreen taking the brunt of the hit from Newgarden’s right-front corner until he saw the video.

He then tweeted images of the wreck, saying it “likely saved my life”.

“I didn’t even realize myself [what had happened],” Hunter-Reay told Motorsport.com. “The whole thing unfolded in fractions of a second, I thought somebody had dropped a wheel off at the exit of the corner there, and I was continuing about my business, I figured what was going on was contained to that area, but what I couldn’t see was Colton was there with nowhere to go.

“He impacted Josef, which is what threw Josef into the rest of us coming. Just nowhere to go and braced for impact. Came out the other side with no left-front [corner], day over.

“But it wasn’t until I saw the video that I realized the severity of the impact. I’m not sure, somewhere around 120mph. The evidence from the impact on the aeroscreen shows that it did a fantastic job, it was a major impact. It deflected his right-front wheel assembly up and over the car.”

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When asked about the damage to the car, and whether the aeroscreen needed replacing, Hunter-Reay replied: “There was damage to the carbon wicker that runs down the centerline, that was cleaned off. So there were repairs to the car, but the aeroscreen structure – there was no compromise there.”

The 2012 IndyCar champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner admitted it was frustrating way to start the season but hopes to get his season on track at St Pete this weekend – where he’s scored seven top-five finishes in the past decade.

“I just can’t wait to get back on track,” he added. “We showed some pace [at Barber] but the race pace wasn’t what we wanted from any of the guys. But this is a completely different type of track, so we’re optimistic.”

Andretti Autosport had three cars in the running for victory at this event last year, when it was the series finale, although they all made crucial errors. By contrast, Hunter-Reay encountered difficulties in qualifying but climbed through the field to claim fifth.

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