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.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.