Verizon IndyCar Series officials have stated that Robert Wickens was “awake and alert” before being transferred to hospital after a massive crash at the start of today’s 2018 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.
The Canadian, driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, was involved in an incident with Ryan Hunter-Reay on lap seven of the race. Wickens was on the inside of Hunter-Reay as the pair approached turn two, but the pair got together and were sent into the outside wall at high speed.
Wickens’ #6 Honda essentially used Hunter-Reay’s #28 as a ramp, with Robert being sent over the barrier and into the catch-fencing that lines the race track. From there, it was a wild ride. The impact with the catch-fence pitched Wickens into a terrifying spin through the air and back across the race track, with Hunter-Reay luckily sliding underneath Wickens’ airborne car.
The IndyCar AMR safety crew were quick onto the scene, with Wickens being extracted from the car and taken to the infield care centre before later being transferred by air to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.
Soon after, IndyCar’s Vice President of Communications, Curt Cavin, gave a statement outside the medical centre, reporting that Wickens was “awake and alert” before arriving at the centre and was awaiting further medical treatment at the hospital; which was a major relief given the sheer magnitude of the accident.
Cavin went on to state that James Hinchcliffe and Pietro Fittipaldi were also in the medical centre after both were involved in the aftermath of the incident. Hinchcliffe spun as he approached the accident and thankfully avoided making contact with his team-mate Wickens, but Fittipaldi was seemingly unable to slow down in time to avoid Hinchcliffe’s #5 Honda.
Fittipaldi would run into Hinchcliffe’s car front-first, with initial fears that he may have injured his legs, which could be troublesome after the Brazilian’s leg-breaking accident back in May at Spa-Francorchamps in the World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, Fittipaldi was soon released from the care centre, reporting that he was “100%” okay, with no broken bones.
Hinchcliffe, too, was released from the care centre later on. Both he and Fittipaldi have also been declared fit to race.
At the time of writing, we are still waiting for further news as to the extent of Wickens’ possible injuries.
The red flag period after this incident is still in effect, as track officials attempt to repair the heavily damaged catch-fencing. Updates will be provided later this evening or in the race report.