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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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F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.