Dreyer and Reinbold driver Justin Wilson has been diagnosed with a fractured bone in his back, following an incident in Saturday morning practice ahead of the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The Sheffield-born driver - whose younger brother Stefan is also competing in the Indy Lights support series - appeared to come close to the tyre barrier when running wide at high speed through turn 1, and then bounced heavily over the uneven surface across a service road and briefly launched into the air.
Wilson subsequently used Twitter to describe the accident as he saw it from the driver's seat: "I dropped 2 wheels off on exit of one then bottomed out on service road," he wrote. "Then coasted to a stop as I knew I had done something to my back. I think the service road was not level with the grass. Sent car airborne."
The #22 car came to a halt in turn 1 - triggering a full course yellow - at which point Wilson removed the steering wheel and appeared to be about to get out, before slumping back in evident pain. The IndyCar safety team was on the scene to extricate him using a next brace and backboard and he was dispatched to nearby Mansfield MedCentral for evaluation.
Tests confirmed that Wilson had sustained an anterior compression fracture of his fifth thoracic vertebrae because of the violence of the car's travel over the uneven surface through turn 1.
"There is talk of him flying back to Indianapolis for further evaluation," said team owner Dennis Reinbold, so that Wilson can be under the care of IndyCar's lead medical consultant Dr Terry Trammell.
Wilson was back on Twitter
in the evening to update his fans. "Thanks for all the messages. I appreciate the support. This morphine stuff works well although I keep falling asleep while writing," he wrote.
"I fly to Indy tomorrow," he said, confirming his team boss's earlier thoughts. "They think I won't need surgery but I will need a brace. I will be back as soon as possible."
With only a little over two months to go for recuperation until the end of the 2011 season at Las Vegas, there are concerns that the injury could put Wilson out of the car for the remaining six races of the year, depending on the severity of the break and the need for surgery.