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DATE News (chronologically)
06/04/11
irl
Kimball equally at fault for Hildebrand crash  
Hildebrand (above) would have won the Indy 500 if slow moving Charlie Kimball had been down on the apron where he belonged
If it seemed JR Hildebrand came upon fellow rookie Charlie Kimball quickly on the final lap of last weekend's Indianapolis 500, he did.

Track segment times released by the Izod IndyCar Series show that Hildebrand, who crashed trying to pass the lapped car, was traveling about 94 mph faster than Kimball in the north short chute of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and still 83 mph faster in turn four.

In giving Kimball room, Hildebrand's right-side tires got into the slippery higher groove, which pushed him into the wall. Dan Wheldon passed him 900 feet from the finish to win.

Documents show that Kimball, who was low on fuel and perhaps out altogether, was going only 103.634 mph in the timing sector from the short chute to turn four. Hildebrand's speed was 186.865 mph, and that included the area at which the accident started.

In the previous sector measured from turn three to the short chute, Hildebrand was clocked at 210.564 mph to Kimball's 116.440 mph.

Kimball had been slowing for some time. His speed on lap 198 (of 200) was 192.934 mph, and he was at 166.930 mph on lap 199.

Kimball's remarkably slow speed on the final lap raises questions about why he was on the track and not in the deceleration lane. Nearly the same thing happened in last year's race when Mike Conway crashed in turn three after running over the left rear tire of Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was running out of fuel.

Chief steward Brian Barnhart was not available for comment Friday.

There also have been questions regarding Hildebrand holding onto the lead after his crash.

Based on television replays, it took about eight seconds for officials to turn on the caution light.

Hildebrand, who kept pushing the gas pedal after the wall impact, needed 11.1 seconds to travel from the measuring point in turn four to the finish line. Wheldon got there in 7.3 seconds, a difference of 3.8 seconds.

The speed numbers show Wheldon reacted to the crash by slowing. He was 11.4 mph slower from the middle of the fourth turn to the finish line than he had been on the previous lap. Indy Star

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