INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger has confirmed that Dario Franchitti has been admitted to the Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center here in Houston for multiple injuries including a concussion, a spinal fracture that will not require surgery, and a fractured right ankle. He will be kept overnight for observation.
Franchitti was involved in a multi-car crash on the final lap of today’s Race 2 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, in which he was sent airborne and into the catch fence after contact with Takuma Sato.
The incident also collected E.J. Viso, but Sato and Viso were able to come away unscathed. Franchitti’s car owner, Chip Ganassi, told NBCSN shortly after the crash that his driver was awake and alert.
Franchitti’s impact against the catch fence sprayed debris not only across the track but toward the nearby Turn 5 grandstands. After an initial report from local TV station KTRK-TV said that 13 spectators were injured, with two of them being sent to a local hospital for further treatment, a joint statement from race organizer Mi-Jack Promotions, Reliant Park and INDYCAR confirmed two fans were indeed taken to hospitals and 11 fans were treated on-site.
“Officials are investigating the incident and currently do not have further information at this time. Fan and driver safety are always a primary concern and we will provide further details as they are available,” the statement said additionally.