Another camera angle gave Ryan Hunter-Reay a new perspective — literally and figuratively — of the aeroscreen after a crash on the opening lap Sunday of the NTT IndyCar Series season opener at Barber Motorsports Park.
The 2012 series champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner posted photos and video to social media platforms Monday that showed the right front wheel of Josef Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet get airborne over Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda. Because of the aeroscreen (the cockpit safety device implemented last year by IndyCar), the wheel harmlessly deflected away instead of striking Hunter-Reay’s helmet.
Hunter-Reay posted on Instagram: “Unlucky or lucky? I’d say I’m extremely fortunate to have the IndyCar aeroscreen here. Thank you to all involved for making this safety innovation a reality.”
He also posted on Twitter that he was “extremely grateful for the IndyCar Aeroscreen. Likely saved my life.”
Sunday’s crash began when Newgarden lost control of his car in the middle of traffic in the fifth turn. The Team Penske driver and Andretti failed to complete a lap after the wreck, which also impacted Colton Herta, Felix Rosenqvist and Max Chilton.
Herta was involved in a similar airborne wreck last year when his car got airborne over the cockpit of Rinus VeeKay in a restart incident at Iowa Speedway. VeeKay credited being unhurt in the crash to the aeroscreen, which has been hailed often as a major safety advancement by drivers
“Man, I can’t thank IndyCar enough for everything they’ve done safety-wise with the aeroscreen and halo inside the aeroscreen,” Will Power, who was protected from a loose left-front wheel that was jarred loose and went flying over his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet in a crash last year, said after the Iowa incident. “You just saw Colton Herta go over the top of someone, and they’ve just done a tremendous job. It’s better than any other series that have implemented something like it. Just a very good job.”
IndyCar will return to action Sunday with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (noon ET, NBC).