Calkins Crashes At Homestead

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A day after putting together a successful day of testing that put him near the 200 mph benchmark at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Buzz Calkins crashed hard on Wednesday.

Calkins hit the wall in Turn 4 of the flat, 1.5-mile oval. He was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and was released shortly thereafter. Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services, said Calkins was in good condition.

Calkins, the 1996 Indy Racing Northern Light Series co-champion, was testing his Bradley Motorsports Dallara-Oldsmobile in preparation for the IRNLS’s inaugural Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami on April 8. Calkins had just turned in a 199.8 mph lap before the accident.

"We were having a great test," said David Cripps, Bradley Motorsports engineer. "Buzz was happy; the car was working well, and then he lost control in turn four.

"It's unfortunate. We were literally two hours from packing up today. At least Buzz is fine."

The accident not only ended Bradley's day early, but it also will keep the team out of Friday and Saturday's Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway, site of the season-opener on March 18.

"Now we've got our work cut out for us," Cripps said. "This is a temporary setback. Buzz banged it up pretty good, but it's repairable.

"We'll take a raincheck on the Phoenix Test in the West, but we'll definitely be back here for the Feb. 23-24 open test."

Calkins won the first event of the inaugural Indy Racing season in 1996, and Cripps believed the team was prepared to do the same in 2001.

"Buzz won the first Indy Racing event, and we felt he would win the first race of 2001," he said.

Bradley was sharing the track with Cunningham Racing and its driver, Shigeaki Hattori.

The test was private.

The crash was the second of its type in two weeks.

Greg Ray was injured at the track last week during a separate testing session. He was also airlifted to Jackson. He suffered a sore knee and was at first thought to have received a concussion.

In 1997, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver John Nemechek suffered critical head and chest injuries after crashing at the track during a race. He died days later. Nemechek, Winston Cup driver Joe Nemechek’s younger brother, was 27.

After Nemechek’s fatal accident, the track was reconfigured to prevent impacts that produce serious injury.

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