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Indy 500: Hinchcliffe undergoes surgery after practice smash

James Hinchcliffe has been hospitalised and undergone surgery for an upper thigh injury after a violent accident in Monday's practice.
A troubled week for the Verizon IndyCar Series just got even worse, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsport's James Hinchcliffe injured in a big impact in turn 3 during the final day of practice for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Just under an hour into the day's session, the number #5 car appeared to suffer some sort of mechanical failure as it came through the turn and went straight into the wall at full speed. Despite the presence of a SAFER barrier, the car suffered major right side damage and also caught fire, while a tyre came detached and was narrowly missed by Sebastian Saavedra.

As the car slid down to the apron it came close to toppling over on the right hand side, before finally coming to rest right side up. Witnesses said that it did not seem to be the same sort of airborne incident that had previously afflicted Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter, none of whom suffered significant injuries or required a trip to the hospital as a result.

Ed Carpenter's accident on Sunday led to a raft of emergency rule changes for qualifying while IndyCar investigated whether there was something with the new aero kit designs that might be contributing to an instability with the cars. At that point all three cars to have been flipped over were running Chevrolet components, but Hinchcliffe's aerodynamic components are provided by rival manufacturers Honda.

The only other Honda to crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week was the Dale Coyne Racing entry driven by Pippa Mann which spun exiting turn 4 and hit the wall at pit entry. Despite significant damage to the #63 car, Mann herself was uninjured.

Hinchcliffe was described as awake and alert when the safety teams reached the wreckage of the car. However, he was not able to climb out of the car on his own, and once the safety team extracted him he was immediately placed on a stretcher and taken away by ambulance and transported by ground to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

IndyCar medical director Dr Michael Olinger later reported that Hinchcliffe had undergone surgery for an upper left thigh injury. He has since been transferred to the Intensive Care Unit and remains in stable condition. Further medical updates will follow in due course.

"Obviously we're relieved that James is awake and out of surgery," said Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt. "That's the most important thing on our minds right now and we will do absolutely everything required to ensure a complete recovery."

Hinchcliffe had yesterday qualified for next Sunday's race in 24th place, and had set the ninth fastest time of 223.916mph during the Monday session before the crash occurred. The popular Canadian driver nearly missed last year's race after suffering a concussion from flying debris during the preceding event in 2014, the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the new in-field road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Related Pictures

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James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Jim Haines)
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones celebrates winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Indy Lights action
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Santiago Urrutia - Schmidt Petersen Motorsport
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]

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May 19, 2015 10:16 AM

There are conflicting reports regarding his condition. Initially some news sites reported he was concussed, never good news considering he haas concussed last year too. However, it now seems this was not the case and that the surgery was to remove a piece of wreckage that had embedded itself in his though. If so, this is good news as it suggests he may not have upper leg bone injuries. Here's hoping James is fine and fit soon.


May 20, 2015 8:54 AM

Everything in this crash could have been a worst-case-scenario: Speed, angle, impact, G-force, it is truly frightening! The mayor of Hinchtown was saved by everything that gives me faith in the future and the foundation of the (my beloved) Indycar series: a.) A very strong car. The suspension pierced the tub, but the way the car stood up to a freggin' 125G-impact is remarkable! I don't think an F1 car would have done that (come forward, Mr. Alonso!) b.) First class first aid. Indycar has the best safety and medical team in the world, and if this doesn't prove it, i don't know what does. The guys are amazing - and I proudly wear their name as my nick! c.) SAFER-barrier. Simple idea proving more and more of an essential.

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