Pit mishap casts a cloud over King’s Indy 500 debut
Jordan King successfully finished his first-ever Indianapolis 500 at the weekend, but a pit-lane incident and subsequent drive-through penalty overshadowed his debut.
After qualifying for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in 26th position with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the 25-year-old made the rolling start to Sunday’s race from the ninth row of the 33-car grid having been fourth fastest of the field in Friday’s ‘Carb Day’.
With a quarter of the race distance completed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Harbury driver had made up several positions to be lapping the 2.5-mile circuit in 21st place.
However, when he made his second pit stop of the event, King was involved in a pit-lane accident with one of his crew members.
On his entry to his pit box, which was made even tighter by a car in the pit box before his, he ran into his rear-right Firestone tyre which then came into contact with Chris Minot - the team’s chief mechanic for the entry, and outside front tyre changer.
Unfortunately, Minot was injured and knocked to the ground, which considerably lengthened the time of the stop as the wellbeing of King’s crew took priority.
After the tough stop, King returned to the race track where he set about making up for the lost time.
He was running in 20th when he was told to take a drive-through penalty for the collision with equipment and crew in the pit lane.
Now three laps down after the penalty was served, he had a lot of work to do to finish the race in a strong position.
A red flag incident occurred in the final stint of the race when his team-mate Graham Rahal was involved in an accident which took out five drivers.
With the proceedings halted, King was able to compose himself for the last 14-lap shootout which was to come.
When the safety car released the field for the final time, King was in 24th and remained there until the conclusion of the intense 500-mile race.
Since the pit lane accident, Chris Minot - known as Chachi - has had surgery on his leg and has been discharged from hospital.
“I’m thinking about Chachi, obviously.” King said. “I’m really disappointed in myself for the team - really for everybody.
“I think we had a pretty strong car. We were looking quite strong and making progress. Looking at how the race finished, I think we could’ve been in the top ten, so that’s quite hard to swallow.
“First bit of call was to check that everything’s okay at the hospital. It’s not good, it’s not what you want to do [injure a crewman]. I don’t even know what to say. I’m really disappointed in myself and for everyone involved. We could have had a good race but didn’t, so that’s that.”
Jordan’s next race will take him back to sportscar racing and the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 15 and 16 where he will compete in the LMP2 class with Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport.