IndyCar: Hinchcliffe diagnosed with concussion after on-track incident; Viso to fill in if need be


A medical update has been issued re: Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe, after the Canadian stopped on track in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Lap 57 due to an off-course excursion. Hinchcliffe’s helmet got struck with loose bodywork from Justin Wilson’s car, which became dislodged and hit him on the backstraight on the run to Turn 7. He favored his head and was taken off on a stretcher, then transported via ground to Methodist Hospital.

Hinchcliffe was able to provide a quote in a statement released by the team:

“I want to thank all the fans for their messages of concern and support. I’m a little stiff and sore and I’d love to be back in the car tomorrow, but I suppose I should probably let the doctors make that decision. Such a bummer for the UFD car when things were really starting to come together.”

The official update from INDYCAR:

“Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe was discharged from IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after being evaluated and having a CT scan of his head and neck.

“INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger said Hinchcliffe was diagnosed with a concussion. The driver of the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car for Andretti Autosport will be re-evaluated by Olinger and INDYCAR medical consultants before being cleared to drive.”

Updates only came from alternative parties from the time of the incident through to the official update. Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin and Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer had several tweets, as did Hinchcliffe’s teammate Marco Andretti who was in communication as the team.

As a whole, not a great day for Andretti Autosport because here’s where it leaves them heading into the opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice on Sunday.

Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 crew will swap over to its oval setup as the car came home second today, but that’s after needing to repair the right rear yesterday.

Andretti’s No. 25, as he wrote above, featured a cracked tub. Also not ideal.

Then Hinchcliffe’s No. 27, Franck Montagny’s No. 26 and Carlos Munoz’s No. 34 cars all retired from contact.

Hinchcliffe’s No. 27 will need a new driver, and one of Andretti’s 2013 drivers, E.J. Viso, has been nominated as that stand-in driver if needed. The team will determine whether he’ll actually drive depending on the outcome of the re-evaluation.

As for Viso, he is in Indianapolis already and posted this picture to Twitter, already in fire suit.

The Montagny and Munoz cars bore the worst of it; Montagny was a one-off driver for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and schedule-pending, Kurt Busch was due to be in that car on Sunday.

Busch, meanwhile, like the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, is in a rain delay at Kansas, and not free to leave there until that race gets in the books.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.