IndyCar driver Robert Wickens was “awake and alert” after a frightening, multicar crash in the ABC Supply 500 race Sunday at Pocono Raceway, but suffered “orthopedic injuries,” according to IndyCar, and a pulmonary contusion, according to the Indianapolis Star.
Wickens was taken by helicopter to Lehigh Valley-Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa., with what the Star said were injuries to his lower extremities, right arm and spine. He was expected to undergo surgery, according to the Star.
It took about 12 minutes for safety crews to get Wickens out of his car, and he was first taken by ambulance to the infield care center at the track.
“That’s the worst thing you can see. He’s hurt. He’s awake and alert and at least he’s alive,” driver Sebastien Bourdais said (via the AP).
A 29-year-old IndyCar rookie with international experience, Wickens was trying to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay on the first lap when the two cars touched. Both cars crashed into the wall, with Wickens flying over Hunter-Reay’s car and into the catchfence. James Hinchcliffe, Pietro Fittipaldi and Takuma Sato also were involved in the wreck. Hinchcliffe headed to the hospital to be with Wickens, who is a close friend and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate.
“I was lucky to get out of that one,” Hunter-Reay said after being released from the infield medical center. Sato was also checked and released. Fittipaldi and Hinchcliffe were released after having X-rays, according to Cavin.
The owner of Hunter-Reay’s car, former open-wheel racing star Michael Andretti, upset some viewers with comments he gave in an interview on NBC following the crash, when he appeared to put the onus on Wickens for the incident before knowing of the driver’s condition.
“I think Robert should have backed out of it,” Andretti said (via the Indianapolis Star). “He was only halfway on Ryan’s side. … He was in Ryan’s blind spot so Ryan didn’t see him.”
The wreck caused damage to about 80 feet of the catchfence and caused the race to be halted while repairs took place. Alexander Rossi went on to win.
“It’s tough to really celebrate after what happened,” he said.
Wickens, who is from Ontario, had finished in the top five in his previous five races and matched his career-best at Mid-Ohio, finishing second.
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