Stefan Wilson team’s backup is older chassis with go-kart engine for pit stop practice
INDIANAPOLIS – As Indianapolis 500 driver Stefan Wilson of Cusick Motorsports and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing was being evaluated at IU Health Methodist Hospital, his racing team began to prepare the backup car for Sunday’s 107th Indianapolis 500.
It’s an all-black, 2-year-old Dallara chassis currently equipped with a go-kart engine that was used by the team for pit stop practice.
That car would be stripped to the tub and replaced with the chassis setup and engine in time for Friday’s final Indianapolis 500 on Carb Day. That’s the final two-hour practice before Sunday’s 107th Indianapolis 500.
Wilson was announced Monday night as sidelined for the Indy 500 because of a fractured vertebrae in a practice crash. In a release, the team announced that its replacement driver would be intrroduced at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday, and its backup car would run in Carb Day practice Friday.
Wilson’s No. 24 DRR Cusick Carekeepers Chevrolet was badly damaged when it was involved in a crash with Katherine Legge’s No. 44 Hendrickson Honda from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing during Monday’s two-hour full-field practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
As both cars were in a long train of cars coming down the front straightaway, Legge’s car lost control at the apex of Turn 1 and slid into Wilson’s Chevrolet.
After hitting the wall, Legge’s Honda briefly came off the ground before landing on its wheels, but Wilson’s Chevrolet hit the wall nose first.
Legge was able to get out of her car, but the AMR Safety Team carefully removed Wilson and put him on a backboard.
He gave a thumbs-up to the crowd as he entered an ambulance on a stretcher and was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation.
“I can tell you he’s doing well,” IndyCar Medical Director Dr. Julia Vaizer told a group of reporters outside of the IU Health Infield Hospital at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “He’s being transported to a local hospital for advanced imaging and further evaluation, but he’s in good spirits.”
While Wilson was evaluated, the team wheeled out a pit stop practice car that looked like a “Batmobile” that Batman made famous.
According to Dreyer & Reinbold spokesperson Tom Blattler, the car was already in the Gasoline Alley garage. It’s a complete car that was ready to go when J.R. Hildebrand was the driver, but it never has been in a race.
Chase Selman, the team manager of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, was overseeing the start of a long process of adding race wings and other body parts to the backup car.
Legge’s No. 44 Honda will start from the outside of Row 10. Rahal Letterman Lanigan crew members were in her garage making necessary repairs to her primary car with no intention of a backup.
Because she has been evaluated and released, once her car is repaired, Legge will be back on track for Carb Day practice Friday at 11 a.m. ET.
Per Indy 500 rules, there is no penalty if either team has to use a backup car because of a crash.
Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500