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DATE News (chronologically)
05/24/11
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De Silvestro "I was so scared"
IndyCar driver Simona De Silvestro wasn’t physically equipped to tackle her first boiled lobster. The 22-year-old Swiss star was at The Fours on Canal Street yesterday with fellow drivers Will Power and Justin Wilson on a promotional tour for the IZOD IndyCar series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Aug. 14.

De Silvestro arrived with both hands wrapped in heavy, white bandages and was unable to handle the cutlery needed to open the indigenous crustacean on her plate. She was involved in a serious crash Thursday during her qualifying run for next Sunday’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

De Silvestro was navigating her No. 78 Nuclear Clean Energy/HVM Racing car through the chute between the third and fourth turns when the rear suspension ruptured. She hit the safety wall, flipped several times and landed port side on the track. The resulting flames melted De Silvestro’s protective gloves and caused second- and third-degree burns on both hands. The woman known to everyone on the IndyCar circuit as the Swiss Miss was renamed the Swiss Missile.

“I was so scared, and it wasn’t so much the crash as the fire. And it was the second time this has happened to me,” De Silvestro said. “It will take a while for the skin to grow back again, but we’ll see if we can do a good race next weekend.

“Before wrecking I had probably had not gone more than 20 laps. It was hurtful because we had a really good car for Indy. I couldn’t do anything about it. It was just a mechanical failure.” While De Silvestro was being treated at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, the HVM Racing team was putting together a backup car for more trial runs Saturday Despite personal misgivings and against doctor’s wishes, De Silvestro got back behind the wheel for another run at the legendary 2.5-mile oval. Through perseverance and quality driving, De Silvestro beat the odds and qualified 24th for the Indy 500.

“I was really questioning if I really wanted to do this, especially on the ovals,” De Silvestro said. “I think my background is on road courses, and I feel I have so much to learn on (oval courses), and it really scared me.

“I wasn’t sure, but the team got our backup car together and I was really proud of them, and they were really positive. I knew I had to try it and try it right away to see if it really works, and the first couple laps it felt right. De Silvestro will need to fine-tune her driving skills when she visits NHMS. Wilson described the 1.058-mile, slightly-banked oval as a scaled-down version of Indy. “I think I’m a little crazy because I don’t think many drivers wouldn’t have done that,” De Silvestro said. “But for me, it was really important to try and get back in the car as soon as possible.” Boston Herald
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