Canadian IndyCar driver Robert Wickens was taken by helicopter for medical treatment following a violent wreck at the start of Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway, where a driver was killed in 2015. IndyCar said he was alert and awake after the crash.
The IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway remains on hold following a crash that sent driver Robert Wickens to the hospital.
Wickens' auto drove over Hunter-Reay and went air born just as cars were reaching top speed.
Power had one more shot to jump Rossi in the pits, but just before he dove in on lap 171, he went high while trying to pass the lapped vehicle of Max Chilton and lost valuable seconds, clearing the way for Rossi to win his first oval race since the 2016 Indy 500. Wickens Honda launched over Hunter-Reay's vehicle and sailed into the catchfence, where the tub of his IndyCar spun several times before crashing back onto the track.
Medical workers calmly attended to Wickens, who was taken to an ambulance before he was transported to the helicopter.
The race was delayed almost two hours and only eight laps in the 500-mile race had been completed because of Wickens' crash and another accident right before green. The impact of the wreck tore out a large section of fencing. "It's an exceptional day, but right now, Rob and James and everyone involved in that, Ryan, have our thoughts, and it's tough to really celebrate after what happened".
Rossi's plain sailing lasted until Lap 90, when his lead of more than a dozen seconds over Power dissipated to under four as he struggled to put a lap on AJ Foyt Racing's Matheus Leist.
He also closed to within just 29 points of New Zealand's Scott Dixon, who leads the championship points race with 530 points.
The race was eventually restarted, with Alexander Rossi dominating, leading 180 of the 200 laps on the way to record his third victory of the season. Sebastien Bourdais raised concerns about the quality of the repairs and condition of the fence before he got back in the vehicle. Track President Ben May said: "It may not be the prettiest job but it's going to be safe".
Wickens' accident was eerily similar to the crash that claimed the life of British driver Dan Wheldon in 2011. Two other drivers, Pietro Fittipaldi and James Hinchcliffe, underwent X-rays at the infield care center following the crash. Hinchcliffe seemed to be in pain, grabbing his wrists as he slowly left his vehicle.
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Rossi finished nearly 4.5 seconds clear of Will Power, who was looking to win his third straight race at Pocono and become the first driver to win three straight 500-mile races since Bobby Unser in 1981.
Hinchcliffe went to the hospital to visit his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate.
Hinchcliffe survived his own life-threatening injury when a broken part from his auto pierced an artery during a 2015 crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Veach's promising race was hindered when he lost his wing adjustment mechanism, facing the team to revert to old-style (and slower) "speed handles" on pit stops, but the Andretti Autosport rookie brought home a sixth-place finish.
Fittipaldi had just returned from a lengthy layoff because of two broken legs suffered in Europe.
Fittipaldi later tweeted: "Thank god I am fine and walking away from that accident". "It's unfortunate but I just hope Robert is okay".
It was a chilling moment again at Pocono. IndyCar driver Justin Wilson was killed at Pocono in 2015 when he was struck in the head by debris from a vehicle that crashed ahead of him.
Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion, called the race from the broadcast booth after he was forced out because of an electrical issue in his vehicle.
Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion and IN native, said last week he'd like another crack at the Indy 500 as long as he could drive a competitive auto.
"I need him to have a bad run and I need to have a good run", Power said.
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