Robert Wickens has more surgeries, will transfer to rehab facility; full list of injuries released

IndyCar
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IndyCar driver Robert Wickens is recovering after undergoing additional surgeries this week at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced Thursday.

Wickens underwent successful surgeries this week to repair fractures on both of his legs and hands sustained in a violent crash at Pocono Raceway on August 19.

According to a statement from the team, “Wickens is expected to be transferred to a rehabilitation center in the coming days to begin the recovery process. The severity of the spinal cord injury he sustained in the incident remains indeterminate and under evaluation. Physicians stress it could take weeks or months for the full effects of the injury to be known.”

Wickens had previously undergone surgeries over the last two weeks on a thoracic spinal column fracture, lower extremities and his right arm.

Thursday’s announcement revealed the full extent of Wickens’ injuries, stating, “In an effort to remain transparent and open, we are providing a list of Robert’s injuries to truly showcase the severity of what our son / brother / fiancé / friend / teammate has gone through and will be recovering from in the months to come.”

The injuries Wickens sustained in the crash were:

  • Thoracic spinal fracture
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neck fracture
  • Tibia and fibula fractures to both legs
  • Fractures in both hands
  • Fractured right forearm
  • Fractured elbow
  • Four fractured ribs
  • Pulmonary contusion

“The IndyCar community has been nothing but supportive the last few weeks,” SPM co-owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson said in a statement. “We are grateful for their support as well as the exceptional care given to Robert by the AMR IndyCar Safety Team, the IndyCar Medical Staff, the surgeons and nursing staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest and everyone at IU Health Methodist Hospital.”

The co-owners also stated that the team’s No. 6 Honda will be waiting for him when he returns to racing.

“While Robert continues his recovery, we want to make it clear that the No. 6 entry is for Robert Wickens and him only,” the Schmidt/Peterson statement added. “No matter the amount of time it takes for his full recovery, we will hold that seat for him.

“Carlos Muñoz, the named driver for the last two events on the 2018 calendar, is doing a great job for us to keep the No. 6 owner championship points alive, and we very much appreciate all the hard work he’s putting into helping us finish the season.

“The road to Robert’s recovery will be a long and tough one, but we hope you’ll be alongside us cheering him on. BETTER. STRONGER. FASTER.”

In a statement, the Wickens family also thanked everyone for their concern and support for the Canadian driver, who was in his rookie season in the Verizon IndyCar Series:

“We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, prayers and positive energy that has been sent our way since Robert’s accident. We are blown away by the strength of this IndyCar community and the support within it.

“While Robert’s recovery and rehabilitation continue over the coming weeks and months, your loving messages will certainly be a source of encouragement for him.”

On Wednesday, Wickens was named Sunoco IndyCar Rookie of the Year, even though he will have missed the last three-plus races of the season.

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Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.