Injured IndyCar driver Robert Wickens to undergo spinal surgery tonight

Leave a comment

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.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.