Driver Justin Wilson was airlifted to a hospital during IndyCar’s race at Pocono Raceway today after he was struck in the head by a nosecone loosed from driver Sage Karam’s car following a crash. According to IndyCar officials, Wilson is currently in a coma. (Updates below.)
Karam’s number 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet spun out from the lead on lap 179 of 200, hitting the outside wall. The loose nosecone from Karam’s car then struck Wilson in the head. Wilson was driving the number 25 Andretti Autosport Honda. The piece appears to have knocked Wilson out, sending Wilson’s car into the interior wall. Wilson was then transported by helicopter to a local hospital.
[WARNING: Videos depict an incident where a serious injury occurred that ultimately resulted in a driver’s death.]
Karam was conscious and quickly got out of his car with some help from the safety team, but Wilson required additional medical attention.
A later replay shows Wilson getting struck in the head by the nosecone in greater detail:
IndyCar and reporters at Pocono Raceway both confirmed that Wilson was being airlifted to a local hospital for treatment:
No further updates have been made on Wilson’s condition. Our thoughts are with Wilson for a full and quick recovery.
The race was allowed to continue when the track was clear, although no confetti was used in pit lane out of respect.
Wilson, 37, is a native of Sheffield, England, who currently resides in Colorado. He has been a fixture in open-wheel racing for many years, previously driving for Minardi and Jaguar in Formula One. Wilson began competing in American open-wheel series in 2004 starting with Champ Car, where he placed second in the championship in 2006 and 2007. He has competed in six races with the Andretti Autosport team this year.
Wilson is widely considered one of the most selfless drivers in the paddock. According to USA Today, he recently gave up an opportunity to pass and take the lead from Graham Rahal at Mid-Ohio, as it was Rahal’s home track and Rahal was gunning for the championship. Wilson also serves as one of three driver representatives to IndyCar along with Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan.
UPDATE [8/23 7:18 p.m.]: Race winner and Andretti Autosport teammate teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay confirmed that Wilson was knocked unconscious in the incident:
“I didn’t know it was bad until after I crossed the finish line,” said Hunter-Reay to James.
UPDATE [8/23 9:17 p.m.]: IndyCar has released the following update on Justin Wilson’s condition:
[UPDATE 8/24 1:08 p.m.]: IndyCar released another statement on Wilson’s condition this afternoon. Wilson remains in a coma, in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
[UPDATE 8/25 7:11 p.m.]: IndyCar also released this statement on Sage Karam’s condition.
More on this story as it develops.
Contact the author at email@example.com.