Wilson was hit by debris, airlifted to area hospital
Ryan Hunter-Reay couldn’t celebrate this Verizon IndyCar Series win. His concern, like that of all of the entire sport, was for Justin Wilson, who appeared to be struck in the head by flying debris late in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Wilson was deep in the pack when race leader Sage Karam crashed in turn one. Karam’s ferocious impact sent debris flying, and television replays seemed to show Karam’s nose cone striking Wilson in the helmet.
Wilson’s car then veered into the inside wall.
Karam escaped injury. There was no specific word over Wilson’s condition, though IndyCar officials did confirm the driver had suffered a head injury. According to an Associated Press report, Wilson was airlifted from the track.
INDYCAR ISSUED THE FOLLOWING UPDATE JUST AFTER 9 P.M.: Verizon IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson sustained a severe head injury during today’s event at Pocono Raceway. Wilson is currently in a coma and in critical condition while undergoing further evaluation at Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa.
INDYCAR sends its thoughts and prayers to Justin, his family and Andretti Autosport during this difficult time.
Additional updates to Wilson’s condition will be released when available
Hunter-Reay and Wilson have been Andretti Autosport teammates this season and in this race. Wilson, 37, is widely considered the nicest man in the paddock.
The incident occurred with 21 laps of the 200 remaining in the ABC Supply 500. The cars circled around the track for 14 laps before a final sprint.
Hunter-Reay passed series rookie Gabby Chaves with under six laps left. The race ended under caution after Chaves’ engine blew with three laps left.
Josef Newgarden finished second with series points leader Juan Pablo Montoya third. Montoya will take a 34-point lead over Graham Rahal to the season-ending race next weekend at Sonoma Raceway.
Scott Dixon, who finished ninth, trails Montoya by 47 points. Will Power, who finished fourth, is 62 points in arrears with fifth-place Helio Castroneves down 78 after finishing 16th.
Rahal and Castroneves were involved in crashes.
Rahal’s trouble started on lap 66 when his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing crew suffered its second fueling trouble of the season. The first occurred in the Auto Club Speedway race that Rahal went on to win. This one led to Rahal dropping to 20th place.
Rahal was on his way back toward the front when he came upon Wilson in a battle for 15th place. Traffic slowed in front of them and as Wilson lost momentum Rahal went to the inside for the pass. That’s how the cars were aligned as Turn 3 approached.
“We just ran from (turn) two down to three together and then (Tristan) Vautier just decided he wanted to join the party there at the last minute,” Rahal said. “Unfortunately, he just punted us.”
The tire contact sent them both to the outside wall, with Rahal’s car turning around. Both cars lifted off the ground but didn’t flip over.
“(Vautier) said I turned into him; there’s not any space,” Rahal said. “We’re already two-wide and he knows that, he sees that.”
Vautier argued that blame should have gone elsewhere.
“I tried to go to the apron and brake, but it was too late,” he said.
“We’re down, we’re not out,” Rahal said. “We’ve had a good year and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re going to go to Sonoma in attack mode.”
Another third-generation driver had trouble, too, although Marco Andretti wasn’t in the championship fight.
On the restart lap No. 139, Andretti’s Honda mysteriously spun around in Turn 2, walloping the outside wall. He was slow to extricate and then limped to the safety truck with a sore right knee.
They weren’t the only ones to crash; far from it.
Jack Hawksworth, who had a big crash here last year and lost a left rear tire early in this race, was inside of Charlie Kimball when his car bobbled, lost traction and swerved into Hawksworth’s. It wasn’t a big impact, and Kimball continued on. But it was Kimball’s second crash in as many days. Saturday’s impact in qualifying was ferocious and dramatic, riding the turn three wall before slapping the fence. He escaped with only a scratch on his chin.
Tony Kanaan dropped left-side wheels under the low line, causing his car to spin. The Ganassi machine went fully around twice before slapping the inside wall.
Castroneves and Sebastien Bourdais crashed in similar fashion. Their cars drifted too far into the high line, lost grip and lost control. Castroneves’ crash came on a restart when as many as eight cars got side-by-side toward the end of the front straightaway. Castroneves was on the outside of Dixon and Simon Pagenaud when he crashed.
Justin Wilson, left, jokes with crew members this weekend at Long Pond, Pa.
LONG POND, Pa.- Results Sunday of the ABC Supply 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (8) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running
2. (4) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
3. (19) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
5. (6) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 200, Running
6. (9) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
7. (2) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running
8. (18) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 200, Running
9. (11) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 200, Running
10. (15) James Jakes, Honda, 200, Running
11. (16) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 197, Mechanical
12. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 193, Mechanical
13. (17) Pippa Mann, Honda, 185, Running
14. (20) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 179, Contact
15. (7) Justin Wilson, Honda, 179, Contact
16. (1) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 166, Contact
17. (21) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 156, Mechanical
18. (22) Marco Andretti, Honda, 138, Contact
19. (12) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 131, Contact
20. (5) Graham Rahal, Honda, 92, Contact
21. (13) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 92, Contact
22. (14) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 82, Contact
23. (10) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 36, Contact
24. (24) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 19, Mechanical
Winners average speed: 146.245
Time of Race: 03:25:08.1095
Margin of victory: Under Caution
Cautions: 12 for 74 laps
Lead changes: 33 among 12 drivers
Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Montoya 500, Rahal 466, Dixon 453, Power 439, Castroneves 423, Newgarden 413, Andretti 390, Bourdais 386, Kanaan 366, Pagenaud 356.