Max Chilton was an early casualty from the opening Verizon IndyCar Series race around the streets of Belle Isle when the British drivers’ steering column appeared to fail on him on the tenth lap.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was heading down the back stretch and ended up being just a passenger as he could not turn the car through the kink on the straight, ending up hitting the wall.
Chilton had been trying to progress from his lowly grid slot, and felt he had good pace in his #8 machine before the issue ended his afternoon early.
“We started 18th. We knew we had to go forward, so I pushed like mad for the first eight laps,” said Chilton. “People pitted early and then my pace didn’t drop off, so we thought we might as well keep going.
“Finally made the stop because we were out of fuel and then my out lap was mega. As soon as I came out of the pits I felt like I had a very strong front end. The steering was heavy but I still had the grip so I thought maybe it was just the black tires.
“Then, I think it was the third time down the back straight, everything felt normal and then as I went left for the kink, my wheel just went left. I was just a passenger from that point. Something gave way on the column because I couldn’t take the wheel off when I got out.”