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More bad news for SPM: Rookie Robert Wickens wrecks in Indy 500 practice

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Canadian rookie Robert Wickens crashed early this afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Wickens had come out of Turn 2, skimmed the outside wall, moved slightly to the left, and suddenly veered hard to the right and into the outside retaining wall and then coasted into the infield grass.

The entire right side of his Honda was destroyed. He exited his mangled wreck under his own power and was taken to the infield care center, where he was checked and released.

“I just got some oversteer in 2, late in the corner, thought I got away with a big save, and just ran out of track and brushed the wall,” Wickens told the IMS Radio Network. “I was already on the brakes, trying to slow down and it just went violently right on the driver’s side and into the wall. It sucks for the guys. They have a lot of work ahead of them. I’m pretty disappointed.”

Wickens had turned only three laps with a top speed of 222.325 mph before wrecking.

“Looks like he got loose, don’t know if he had a low tire or what, we’ll have to look at the telemetry,” team owner Sam Schmidt told the IMS Network. “You’d rather have it happen today than on race day. … He’s been having a hell of a season. He’s the total package, for sure.”

The team now has four days to repair the damage, as the next on-track action won’t be until Friday.

It took about 15 minutes to clear the track of debris and practice has resumed back under green flag conditions.

Wickens’ teammate and best friend, James Hinchcliffe, will not be in the 500, having failed to qualify for the 33-car field, being one of two drivers that will miss the race.

While there has been significant speculation that Hinchcliffe’s team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, may try to buy a ride into the 500 for him, Hinchcliffe said Sunday that he doesn’t anticipate being in the race.

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Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.