Robert Wickens Remains in Hospital Following Lap 7 Accident
Series Update August 20, 2018 6pm: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens continues to be treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest following injuries sustained in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 19. An MRI was instrumental in revealing the most appropriate surgical course and Wickens is undergoing surgery Monday evening for a spinal injury. Further updates will be provided when available.
Original Article: After being involved in a Lap 7 crash during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, Robert Wickens will remain in hospital over night.
“Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens is being treated for injuries to his lower extremities, right arm and spine following an incident in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway,” the series released in an official statement. “He also sustained a pulmonary contusion. He will undergo an MRI and probable surgery at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest. Further updates on his condition will be provided when available.”
Additionally, a post from NBCSN Commentator Paul Tracy on Instagram stated that Wickens had two broken ankles.
Battling for position on Lap 7, Wickens made contact with the back of Ryan Hunter-Reay, before going over top of the No. 28 DHL Honda’s nose, over across the top of the wall, and into the catchfence where he spun like a top before landing.
Hunter-Reay was uninjured in the crash, stating his thoughts were with his fellow competitor and he was “just lucky to get out of that one.”
“He had a run out of Turn 1, came up along the side of me, but I was in the draft of (Will) Power in front of me so I started pulling ahead,” he added. “Once we got to (Turn) 2 he was at my corner at best. I mean barely there. It was one of those corners you’re not up alongside, you know…its…yeah. The first lap of the race. I mean I thought, at that point, I had got to him, cleared him. I even gave room. I left a lane; left a half of a lane, if not more. I’ve gotta look at it again. I was pretty shocked I got hit in the back.
“That is neither here nor there right now – we’re just thinking about Robert. It’s all very very unfortunate.”
Debris from the initial contact would scatter across turn two of the speedway, resulting in several other drivers getting caught up in the process, including Takuma Sato.
“I saw Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car hit the wall and I immediately backed off but I was covered by oil, my helmet and my car, and there was nothing I could do,” he said. “I just went straight into the wall. There were obviously a lot of cars involved and it’s a pity it happened in a 500-mile race. Right now I’m just worried about other drivers that are injured. When you are side-by-side, drivers get adrenaline and want to go faster but the problem was in Turn 2, it used to be just a kink; it’s nothing, you could go flat side-by-side. But now, with the less downforce, it’s really bumpy and you’ve got to be really careful with that. I was side-by-side with Bourdais into the corner and I backed off and braked but in front, unfortunately, Robert and Ryan made contact and that was nothing we could control.”
Pietro Fittipaldi was also caught up in the debris, catching air as his car made contact with Wickens’ teammate James Hinchcliffe. His right ankle was sore, but x-rays reportedly came back clean.
“I’m feeling great. I’m obviously a little sore from the impact but I’m 100 percent, no broken bones,” he said. “Thankfully. I just saw a lot of smoke ahead, I was in the middle of the corner behind Ed (Jones), it was full of smoke and all I saw was that I was going to hit (James) Hinchcliffe head on, so I had to slam on the brakes and try to get low. When I did that, I think with the debris on track, the fluid, and the cold tires I just lost the rear of the car and then hit him sideways. There are three races left, so I am going to try and get some good results to finish off the season. I’m looking forward to Gateway.”
As previously noted, Hinchcliffe was also involved, spinning in the fluid laid down with debris flying as he did so. Some of those pieces came close to the driver of the No. 5 Honda, resulting in some scratches and bruising to his hands.
“I saw the accident happening in front of me. (Zach) Veach started sliding up, I tried to slow down and just kind of lost it in the fray,” he said. “As I was going backward, I think Pietro (Fittipaldi) had nowhere to go and came into me. Other than that, there was a bunch of stuff going on, I’m not sure exactly what happened. I took my hands off the wheel when I went backward, and I think some piece of debris came in as I was holding them (my hands) in, kind of just smacked the top of them so I took a bit of a beating, but nothing is broken, just some swelling and some cuts. We’ll rest it up and be fine.
“Obviously, I’m just hoping Robbie’s (Robert Wickens) alright. Never good to see a car go up (into the fence) like that, but I know he is in good hands. Hopefully, we’ll see him back in the car soon.”
The series has stated that they will release more details about Wickens’ condition on Monday as they become available.
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