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.”

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

Leave a comment

Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).