(ALLENTOWN, PA) – The IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway on August 19 was marred by a 5-car collision in Turn 2 on the 6th lap. It begun with Robert Wickens, of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, making contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay from behind.
They slid toward the outside barrier wall when Wickens’ car was launched over the front of Hunter-Reay’s vehicle and into the catch fence. Wickens spun violently before landing back onto the track.
“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,” Hunter-Reay said after the race. “Once we got to (Turn) 2 (Wickens) was at my corner at best. I mean barely there. It was one of those corners you’re not up alongside. 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.”
The collision also collected Wickens’ teammate James Hinchcliffe, as well as Takuma Sato, and Pietro Fittipaldi, none of whom were hurt in the crash.
“Yeah, not the race day we were hoping for,” said Hinchcliffe. “You know, 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. 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. Obviously, I’m just hoping Robbie’s alright. Never good to see a car go up like that, but I know he is in good hands. Hopefully, we’ll see him back in the car soon.”
Those involved were foremost in the mind of race winner Alexander Rossi.
“Right now Rob and James and Ryan and everyone involved in that incident have our thoughts,” he said. “It’s tough to really celebrate after what happened.”
Wickens, from Toronto, was admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, PA, with orthopedic injuries for evaluation and treatment. His lower extremities, right arm, and spine were all injured and he suffered a pulmonary contusion.
He underwent surgery Monday evening to stabilize a thoracic spinal fracture associated with a spinal cord injury. Doctors installed titanium rods and screws in Wickens’ spine. The severity of his spinal cord injury is indeterminate at this time. On Friday, further surgeries were performed on his right arm and lower extremities without complication, and also underwent a series of precautionary tests that found no indication of further injury.
Meanwhile he is listed in stable condition. Future treatment for Wickens includes more corrective surgery and rehabilitation.
SPM announced that the No. 6 Honda will be entered for the final two races of the season with Carlos Muñoz driving at Portland and Sonoma.
“Robert and his family have been in my prayers and I continue to pray for his recovery,” Muñoz said. “I’m very grateful that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have entrusted me to compete in the Lucas Oil Honda for the last two races of the season. I am looking forward to pushing hard for a great result for the team and for Robert.”