Injured IndyCar driver Robert Wickens to undergo spinal surgery tonight

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IndyCar officials announced late Monday afternoon that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens will undergo spinal surgery later this evening.

Wickens remains hospitalized and will have surgery at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest. Neither the type of surgery, nor the extent of injuries sustained to the spine as well as the rest of his body, were revealed by either IndyCar nor SPM team officials.

Wickens suffered injuries to his lower extremities, right arm and spine, according to a statement by IndyCar officials late Sunday night, several hours after Wickens was involved in a horrific crash at Pocono Raceway.

MORE: IndyCar Pocono race resumes after Robert Wickes goes to hospital

MORE: IndyCar rallies together in wake of Robert Wickens accident

MORE: Robert Wickens has orthopedic injuries after vicious crash at Pocono

Wickens was racing almost side-by-side with Ryan Hunter-Reay exiting Turn 2 on Lap 8 of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway when their cars touched wheels.

While Hunter-Reay spun, Wickens’ car went airborne and into the catchfence before bouncing off and spinning several times in mid-air before coming to a rest along the inside retaining wall on the track.

Rescue personnel took more than 12 minutes to carefully extricate Wickens from the wreckage. He was placed on a backboard and flown by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital.

IndyCar announced shortly after Wickens left the track that he was awake and alert when rescue personnel tended to him.

NBC Sports will continue to monitor news on Wickens and his condition and will update readers as more information becomes available.

Here is the full IndyCar statement that was issued late Monday afternoon:

“Medical update on Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens

“ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (Monday, Aug. 20, 2018) – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens continues to be treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest following injuries sustained in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 19.

“An MRI was instrumental in revealing the most appropriate surgical course and Wickens is undergoing surgery Monday evening for a spinal injury.

“Further updates will be provided when available.”

Dakar Stage 8 Highlights: Ricky Brabec blows engine, retires

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The motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally has been a seesaw affair through seven stages, but Ricky Brabec seemed poised to win the class for the USA. Until he blew an engine in Stage 8 that is – and gave up a more-than seven second lead. He was the second rider to retire after starting the stage as the leader. Joan Barreda retired in Stage 3.

Brabec was looking to become the first American rider to win in 27 years, but his fate was eerily similar to last year. Three days from the end of the stage, he retired about 50 kilometers into the stage, which is precisely when and where he retired in 2018.

With Brabec’s trouble, Toby Price leapfrogged from third to second in class despite riding with a metal pin in his wrist. In the world’s most grueling endurance event, it has never been more obvious that it isn’t over till it’s over.

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to run a consistent rally. With a 46 minute advantage over Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, all he needs to do is stay error free for the final two stages to win his third Dakar.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb scored his fifth stage win of the Rally by seven minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, but problems in Stage 3 have kept him from being competitive for the overall lead. … Jakub Przygonski earned his third podium of the Rally. All of these have been third-place finishes.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 46:29 over Roma and 46:45 over Loeb.

In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec’s blown engine opened up the class once more. … Matthias Walkner narrowly edged Pablo Quintanilla by 45 seconds. … But it was Toby Price’s third-place finish that helped elevate him to the class lead. … Sam Sunderland was supposed to blaze the path for the riders, but a malfunctioning navigation system kept him from rolling off first. Blazing the trail is a disadvantage and officials adjudged him to have tampered with his system to avoid that fate. Sunderland was penalized an hour to finish 35th on the stage. He dropped to ninth in class.

Class Leaders: Price inherited the lead over Quintanilla by 1:03 and 6:35 over Walkner

In side by sides, Francisco Lopez Contardo scored the victory over Cristian Baumgart by 4:47. … Gerard Farres Guell rounded out the top three.

Class Leaders: Contardo holds an advantage 0f 54:10 over Rodrigo Piazolli and one hour, 08:09 over Guell

In quads, there was no surprise in Nicolas Cavigliasso winning his seventh stage of the season. … He padded his overall advantage over Gustavo Gallego by more than nine minutes. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished third.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 24:52 over Ferioli and one hour, 44:04 over Gallego

In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov won the stage to take over the class lead. He beat Ton Van Genugten by 22:01. … Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Eduard Nikolaev lost the class lead by finishing eighth – nearly one hour behind Sotnikov.

Class Leaders: Sotnikov holds an advantage of 26:49 over and one hour, 7:43 over Gerard de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner [2] (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [7] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [4] (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel [2] (Stage 3 and 7)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [4] (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4), Dmitry Sotnikov [2] (Stage 6 and 8) and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

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