There are some people out there who will say that one of the reasons why we admire race car drivers and enjoy watching racing is the element of danger attached to trying to remain in control of a car going at incredible speeds.
The truth is that “element of danger” is much more than just an element and can become all too real. When that happens there is nothing enjoyable about it.
Unfortunately Indy Car driver Robert Wickens experienced that first hand over the weekend when his car got airborne in a horrible crash at Pocono Raceway AKA “The Tricky Triangle”.
The crash happened early in the race on lap 7 and also involved Ryan Hunter Reay, who narrowly avoided being hit by Wickens car as it got airborne and went into the catch fence where the car basically disintegrated save for the main “tub” which is reinforced for safety.
While watching the car fall apart looked terrible, that’s actually what it is designed to do by dissipating all the energy of an impact away from the driver.
The race was immediately stopped with a red flag while the safety crew went to tend to Robert and other drivers.
After Wickens was extracted from the car he was put on a gurney and air lifted to a local hospital. The race remained stopped while crews cleaned up the track and repaired the fence.
In total the stoppage of the race was just short of two hours.
Later on, Indy Car officials provided an update (see below) that Robert Wickens was “awake” and “alert” before he was loaded on to the helicopter.
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) August 19, 2018
Officials also confirmed that Wickens suffered “orthopedic injuries” to his lower extremities, right arm, and spine.
He will likely need surgery but is expected to recover. There is video of the crash below but I’ll warn you, while its not “graphic” it is definitely scary to watch.
Our thoughts are with Robert Wickens, his family, and friends. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he can get back to racing soon!