INDYCAR releases statement on Dario Franchitti’s injuries

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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.

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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