Surgery Scheduled For Wickens’ Spine Injury

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, August 21 2018

Track workers work to repair the catch fense at Pocono as a medical evacuation helicopter transports injured driver Robert Wickens to a hospital.

By John Sturbin/Senior Writer

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Robert Wickens, injured in a violent multiple-car crash at Pocono Raceway Sunday, was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday evening in a Pennsylvania hospital for a spinal injury.

Wickens continues to be treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pa., following injuries sustained during the ABC Supply 500 on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” layout in Long Pond, Pa. An MRI was instrumental in revealing the most appropriate surgical course for Wickens, a series rookie with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Further updates will be provided by sanctioning body INDYCAR when available.

Wickens is being treated for injuries to his lower extremities, right arm and spine. The 29-year-old Canadian also sustained a pulmonary contusion.

The race was delayed nearly two hours by a red-flag stoppage for track catch-fencing repairs following a five-car incident triggered by Wickens on Lap 7 of the scheduled 200. The field had reached Turn 2 on a restart on Lap 6 when Wickens’ No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda made light contact with the left rear tire of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 DHL Honda. As they slid toward the SAFER Barrier on the outside wall, Wickens’ car launched over the front of Hunter-Reay’s and into the catch-fencing, where it pin-wheeled violently before landing on the track driver-side up before sliding to a stop along the inside wall.

Wickens originally was reported as “awake and alert” when attended to at the crash scene by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team and INDYCAR Medical staff. It took safety personnel approximately 12 minutes to extricate Wickens from the wreckage.

Hunter-Reay was uninjured but visibly shaken. James Hinchcliffe _ Wickens’ SPM teammate and fellow-Canadian; 2016 Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato and series rookie Pietro Fittipaldi _ whose cars also were collected in the incident _ likewise were uninjured but eliminated from the race. The remaining cars running were ordered to pit lane and the race halted for 1 hour, 56 minutes to allow for repair of the catch-fencing.

Alexander Rossi went on to score his third victory of the season for Andretti Autosport by 4.4982-seconds in front of Team Penske’s Will Power, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion who started on-pole. Rossi, driver of the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda, led 180 of 200 laps to back-up his similarly dominant victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on July 29.

Rossi, who started the race 46 points behind championship leader Scott Dixon, closed to within 29 points of the Chip Ganassi Racing ace with three races remaining on the schedule. After 14 races Dixon _ a four-time series champion _ has accumulated 530 points to 501 for Rossi. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, the reigning series champion who finished fifth Sunday, has 464 points. Power is fourth at 449 and Hunter-Reay, Rossi’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, fifth with 411.

The top 10 drivers in points remain mathematically alive for the championship heading into the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., outside St. Louis on Saturday night. The race will air live at 8 p.m. (EDT) on NBC Sports Network and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. 

Results Sunday of the ABC Supply 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (3) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 200, Running

2. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running

3. (13) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running

4. (8) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 200, Running

5. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 199, Running

6. (7) Zach Veach-R, Honda, 199, Running

7. (11) Marco Andretti, Honda, 199, Running

8. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 199, Running

9. (19) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 198, Running

10. (15) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 197, Running

11. (20) Matheus Leist-R, Chevrolet, 197, Running

12. (12) Ed Jones, Honda, 197, Running

13. (21) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 196, Running

14. (18) Graham Rahal, Honda, 196, Running

15. (22) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 162, Contact                                                                     

16. (16) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 17, Contact                                                                       

17. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 16, Mechanical                                                               

18. (4) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 6, Contact                                                                     

19. (6) Robert Wickens-R, Honda, 6, Contact 

20. (9) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 6, Contact

21. (10) Takuma Sato, Honda, 6, Contact

22. (17) Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, 6, Contact 

Race Statistics

Winner’s average speed:  191.304 mph

Time of Race: 2:36:49.1128

Margin of victory: 4.4982-seconds

Cautions: 2 for 10 laps 

Lead changes: 11 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Power, Will 1 – 6

Rossi, Alexander 7 – 37

Power, Will 38

Carpenter, Ed 39

Dixon, Scott 40 – 42

Rossi, Alexander 43 – 71

Power, Will 72

Rossi, Alexander 73 – 135

Power, Will 136 – 140

Rossi, Alexander 141 – 168

Power, Will 169 – 171

Rossi, Alexander 172 – 200


Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Dixon 530, Rossi 501, Newgarden 464, Power 449, Hunter-Reay 411, Wickens 391, Pagenaud 368, Rahal 351, Hinchcliffe 338, Bourdais 325.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, August 21 2018
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