Photo courtesy Robert Wickens official Twitter account

Great news: Robert Wickens takes to social media to give update on condition

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SONOMA, California – IndyCar driver Robert Wickens lifted a lot of spirits before Sunday’s season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma, making his first public appearance in nearly a month since his violent crash at Pocono Raceway on August 19.

Wickens took to on social media, releasing a video on both his personal Twitter and Instagram accounts, and gave viewers an update on how his recovery is coming along.

Wickens lifted a lot of spirits – particularly among his fellow drivers who have shown great support of their comrade – by saying he’s looking forward to return to racing “as quickly as possible.”

Wickens’ video showed him sitting up in his bed wearing a protective rib vest, a neck brace and a wrist cast. He also has an Indianapolis Motor Speedway blanket on his lap.

Here’s what Wickens said in the 54 second video:

“It’s obviously been a long time since I’ve posted anything on social media. I just want to say that all your kind words and positivity have meant the world to me and my family.

“I’m in rehab now, trying to get back to 100 percent as quickly as possible. I don’t know what the future holds for me. It’s going to be a very long road to recovery.

“All I can say is I can promise you guys that I’m going to work as hard as possible, and train as hard as possible, to make sure I’m back in a race car as quickly as possible.

“That’s all I can say for now and I just want to say good luck to everybody in Sonoma this weekend. I’m going to be watching from my TV here, and just good luck to everybody.”

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Hunter McElrea wins Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Scholarship

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Hunter McElrea bested 18 competitors to win the third annual Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout on Sunday at Bondurant Racing School in Chandler, Ariz.

The two-day contest featured on-track competition in Formula Mazda cars as well as interview sessions and assessment from a panel of judges.

“I can’t believe it,” McElrea said at IndyCar.com. “This is definitely the most exciting opportunity that I have had in my racing career. I cannot thank Mazda and everyone enough for making this possible for me. The fact that I am going to be on the grid next year thanks to them is a dream come true.

“They have given me the opportunity to prove myself in such a high level that I never even thought I would be able to reach. I have to thank Andersen Promotions, Cooper tires, all of the judges, everyone from Mazda, the Bondurant Racing School and the other competitors, who literally pushed me to the limit.

“I am just so happy. It is still sinking in, but I just can’t wait to get next year started, and I’ll be representing Mazda in that nice Soul Red USF2000 car.”

MORE: Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 shootout

The 19-year-old McElrea was born in California, but reared in Australia.

As a result of winning the award, McElrea will compete in the 2019 season of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder.

McElrea won the Australian Formula Ford Championship this year on the strength of 13 victories in 21 races.

Early competition resulted in a final field of six drivers that included Jake Craig, Michael Eastwell, Braden Eves, Flinn Lazier and Ross Martin. They competed in a qualification session and 30-minute simulated race. McElrea won that race.

“Today was an incredible day,” said Tom Long, Mazda Motorsports factory driver and one of the judges. “There was so much talent here for the shootout. Hunter McElrea just rose to the top when it was time to shine, but our decision was very, very difficult.

“In the end, given all of the circumstances, we were able to make a pretty good decision and we are really, really proud of not only Hunter but our whole team here with Mazda to be able to grant this $200,000 scholarship for his opportunity in USF2000 next year.”