Rossi Wins Pocono after Massive Robert Wickens Crash
Alexander Rossi had no trouble winning the Pocono 500 IndyCar race this weekend, but his victory was marred by a massive early crash that ended with rookie sensation and fellow Honda driver Robert Wickens being helicoptered to a local hospital
The crash took place on just the sixth lap and involved a total of five cars. The 29-year Canadian driver was attempting to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay when the two made contact, sending the latter careening into the wall. Wickens’ car launched off of Hunter-Reay’s and into the wall, and then into the outer fence, causing it to spin wildly as it spit fire into the air.
By the time everything had settled, little was left of Wickens’ car. Debris littered the track and while the race was stopped, emergency responders carefully lifted Wickens out of his car, put a brace around his neck, placed him on a stretcher and carried him by ambulance to the aforementioned helicopter.
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It was without a doubt one of the most terrifying IndyCar accidents in a long time and serves as a reminder of the risks these drivers take in the pursuit of speed. About 80 feet of fencing was ripped out in the crash, which raceway workers took more than an hour to repair. The race was delayed for nearly two hours before it restarted.
Wickens is now in a stable condition but has titanium rods and screws placed in his spine to stabilize a facture from a spinal cord injury. He is expected to undergo more surgeries to treat other factures in his right forearm and lower extremities.
Even if he can race again, the injuries have ended what had otherwise been an exceptional rookie year for Wickens. Though Rossi won the race after leading 180 of the race’s 200 laps, the mood was subdued. “Right now, our thoughts are with Rob and everyone involved in that crash,” he said. “It’s tough to really celebrate after something like that takes place.”
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Update on the IndyCar race at Pocono: still under Red Flag conditions for catchfence repairs on Lap 9, after a big crash for Robert Wickens. News is that the Schmidt-Peterson driver is awake and alert and has been transported to hospital. #IndyCar #ABCSupply500 pic.twitter.com/gVQmbyNOQ5
— Vincent Bruins (@VincentJBruins) August 19, 2018