Run, run, rabbit! But not in front of an IndyCar Series race leader during the Laguna Seca Grand Prix track! Well, there’s some roadkill now.
Sadly, on Sunday, NBC Sports cameras caught Colton Herta running over a rabbit at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. One commentator asked for a moment of silence for the rabbit.
They put the circle around it like they were breaking down football film 😭😭😭. RIP Rabbit pic.twitter.com/vDHn5jeCmx— Barstool Racing (@rubbinisracing) September 19, 2021
According to WDUN, Herta hit the rabbit over the closing laps came with 14 laps remaining. Many observed the two on a collision course. Herta couldn’t avoid what appeared to be a rabbit or a squirrel running on the track. IndyCar Media said the wildlife collision did no damage to his machine, and he marched home to victory.
The track sits in Monterrey County, California. Once used for grazing and equestrian events, Monterey County Parks Department got the land in 1974.
Herta started from the pole and went on to win the race. He said he knew, at one point, he had run over “either a squirrel or bunny” during the win.
According to The Associated Press, Herta had words of thanks for the dead animal for his first career IndyCar win.
“He’s done a lot more than a lot of IndyCar drivers,” Herta joked.
Oooh, that might make PETA a little mad.
The Associated Press said Herta’s win gave Honda its 10th manufacturer’s championship. It was Honda’s fourth in a row. The Herta victory also came on the 25th anniversary of its first title — also clinched at the California track.
Another Animal Mishap
March was the 20th anniversary of the Randy Johnson bird accident.
Johnson played 22 years in the major leagues and hit a bird while pitching to a batter during a March 24, 2001, spring training game. The bird died instantly.
Johnson called the pitch “a blur going across home plate.”
He remembers the ball and bird blur coming together in an instant. Just like Herta’s hare on Sunday.
“It happened so quick,” Johnson said.
In a strange twist, Johnson used a dead bird image in his photography company logo.
Another Nature vs. Human moment
Another on-the-field baseball incident happened years later after the Johnson one.
In 2009, Indians slugger Shin-Soo Choo smacked a ball to centerfield that hit a bird with men on second and third bases. The game, between Cleveland and Kansas City, was tied in the tenth inning. Outfielder Coco Crisp couldn’t catch up with the ball, a baserunner scored, and the Indians won 4-3 on that June night.
The Associated Press said the bird, a gull, was stunned. However, it flew off afterward.
It was another strange moment as the 1994 movie “Major League II” had a scene where character Pedro Cerrano knocked a ball into the outfield, only to hit a bird. The slugger then raced to the bird and attempted to care for it before getting tagged out.