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Franchitti sent to hospital after huge last-lap crash

Dario Franchitti was involved in a huge last-lap accident in the second race of the Houston double-header event on Sunday and sent to hospital, but has escaped serious injury. (Updated 18:00pm BST)
Dario Franchitti has been admitted to hospital with concussion, back injuries and a fractured ankle after being involved in a scary final lap accident in race 2 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

Franchitti was following Takuma Sato through the fast turn 5 when the AJ Foyt Racing car lost the back end and slewed wide, leaving Franchitti with nowhere to go but into and over the back of the #14. That launched Franchitti up into the air and into the catchfence, which snapped the #10 into a vicious midair spin and shredded bodywork off the chassis, showering debris over the track and through the remains of the wrecked catchfence toward the spectator grandstands.

Takuma Sato was unhurt in the accident, as was EJ Viso who was first on the scene and who ran into the side of Sato's car. However there was concern for Franchitti who was unable to extricate himself from the wreck of his car, forcing him to wait in place for the medical team to arrive to evaluate him and then move him onto a stretcher for transportation to the nearby trauma centre.

Franchitti's team owner Chip Ganassi rushed to the scene and spoke briefly with his driver. He said that Franchitti was awake but understandably somewhat dazed: "He's talking. His ankle is a little sore. His back is a little sore. He's going to take a trip to the hospital, but he is okay."

Other witnesses confirmed that Franchitti was awake and moving, with some reports suggesting that he had waved reassuringly to onlookers.

A subsequent brief statement from the IndyCar Series confirmed the positive news: "Dario Franchitti was admitted awake and alert to Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston for a concussion, spinal fracture and a broken right ankle."

An update on Monday said that Franchitti had undergone surgery on the ankle to stabilise the break. His back injury is not expected to require any surgical treatment, but he will still be kept in hospital in Houston for a few days.

"Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes," said Franchitti in a statement released by IndyCar. "They mean a lot to me. I would also like to send my best to all the fans involved in the accident and hope that everyone is alright."

In addition to Franchitti, an estimated 13 fans in the grandstand also needed medical treatment of some sort. Most of them were treated at the scene, but two people have been transported to the hospital. Additional reports said that IndyCar timing and scoring official Kim Tyger suffered minor injuries and had also been taken to the hospital.

The race itself finished under yellow with Will Power taking the win ahead of Franchitti's Ganassi team mate Scott Dixon, while James Hinchcliffe took third place ahead of Justin Wilson. A seventh place finish for Simon Pagenaud rules the Frenchman out of contention for the championship going into the final round of the season in two weeks time at Fontana, which will now see Dixon and Helio Castroneves go head-to-head for this year's honours.



Related Pictures

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Dario Franchitti came third in the Pocono IndyCar 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, July 7 2013. (Photo Credit: Brett Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti in action during practice for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on Friday, October 4 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti watches on intently during qualifying for race 1 in Toronto - Friday, July 12 2013. (Photo Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan lead the pack at the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Briscoe (left), driver of the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, talks with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, during qualifying Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Briscoe qualified fourth, Kanaan second and teammate Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 won the pole. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates winning the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The eyes of Scott Dixon look down track prior to practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)

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