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Power cleared; Mann and Hildebrand held for observation

17 October 2011

In the wake of the horrific 15-car wreck in the IndyCar season finale race in Las Vegas, three drivers were dispatched by ground ambulance to the city's nearby University Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment.

Pippa Mann had appeared the most shaken of the drivers after being extracted by the safety crews from her wrecked Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, needing help and support from the medics to make it to the medical car. She appeared disorientated and dizzy, as well as in tears from shock, as she was assisted away from the scene.

She was dispatched to the hospital, which confirmed that she would stay overnight for evaluation before she would need treatment for burns to the little finger on her right hand, but that she would be released on Monday.

JR Hildebrand was also sent to the hospital for evaluation, after being the first car to be launched airborne in the incident that then sparked the rest of tragic events.

He sent word via Twitter confirming that he was okay. "Thank you to those who have expressed personal concern. I'm doing just fine," he tweeted, adding: "What a tremendously sad day, my thoughts are with the entire Wheldon family. Dan's passion for IndyCar racing will be sorely missed..."

Will Power was the third of the drivers to be transferred by ambulance to the hospital. He had been initially reviewed and released by the in-field care center at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but was clearly feeling the effects of his airborne crash and returned to the center several times complaining of lower back pain, at which point the medical staff decided it was appropriate to send him for more detailed evaluation.

Power was reviewed at the hospital and soon cleared for release, and did not require an overnight stay. He tweeted later: "Such a sad day ... To lose a champion like Dan Wheldon ... My thoughts and prayers are with Susie and his kids."

Power had been due to fly to Australia this week to drive in the V8 Supercars event on the Gold Coast, but announced on Sunday evening that he was withdrawing. A devastated Tony Kanaan had also been due to race, but also withdrew after the tragedy. Dan Wheldon himself had been looking forward with his characteristic infectious enthusiasm to making his Supercars d├ębut.

In Vegas, the IndyCar Series organisers also confirmed the cancellation of the 2011 Championship Celebration - scheduled to be held at Mandalay Bay Resort on Monday evening - in light of the events. The event had been intended as the moment the new Astor Challenge Cup trophy would be presented to the 2011 series champion, but now it couldn't be less relevant or less wanted in the circumstances.


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