Bad things happen when brakes go out in racecars. If everyone is lucky, then no one is hurt. Everyone was lucky in this one.
IndyCar drivers were practicing for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix when Tony Kanaan's breaks stopped stopping his car. That set up for a breathtakingly surreal scene.
Kanaan was barreling into a turn when his brakes gave out. Helio Castroneves was right in front of him and began to make his turn. Kanaan ran up and over the right wheels of Helio and launched into the air. This is one of the few times you can consider a driver lucky for crashing into another car.
Here is Kanaan following the incident, as quoted on ESPN.com:
"Going down to Turn 1, I had no brakes. Fortunately, I ended up hitting Helio. If it wasn't for him, I probably was going to be hurt, but unfortunately I took him out from a mechanical failure that we caused.
"It was frightening. Arriving at 190 mph with no brakes is definitely not fun. Helio saved my life today, I have to say. I was just disappointed because a brake failure in a racing car is something that should not happen at any time."
I have to side with Kanaan in regards to the brake failure. That is definitely that should be a safety check priority on a race a car.
Both Kanaan and Castroneves will have to use backup cars. Castroneves was disappointed his car was damaged, but he was certainly understanding of the situation. Castroneves from the above linked ESPN article:
"I just felt the impact and then I saw the undertray of a car. He really flew, and I was very worried about it because he landed in a very bad position. When I looked he didn't move at all so I ran to make sure he was OK. I'm glad he was OK but it was a very scary accident.
"It's a shame that we were there, but the way I understand it, he lost the brakes. At least I was there to kind of like soften the crash for him because it would have been really, really bad."
Kanaan was extremely lucky, but even more lucky may have been the track marshal. He was able to dive out of the way just before getting squished by the landing airborne car of Kanaan. The marshal kept his wits about him enough to stick the yellow flag above the barrier just after he jumped out of the way.