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

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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.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”