Stefan Wilson will miss Indy 500 because of fractured vertebrae in practice crash
Stefan Wilson will miss the Indy 500 after suffering a fractured back in a practice crash Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In a statement, the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports team announced that Wilson had suffered a fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae that would sideline him from Sunday’s 10th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The team announced shortly after midnight Tuesday that its new driver would be introduced at 10 a.m. ET. Unless having been on the 2.5-mile oval already this month, the driver would be required to complete a refresher program before Carb Day practice Friday.
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The only candidate seemingly able to avoid that stipulation would be Graham Rahal, who was bumped from the 107th Indy 500 field Sunday. But Rahal also drives for Honda, and Dreyer & Reinbold/Cusick Motorsports has a Chevrolet affiliation.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports had begun preparing a 2-year-old chassis as a backup car Monday afternoon that never had started an NTT IndyCar Series race and had been powered by a go-kart engine for pit stop practice. The team said the backup car would run in final practice Friday.
Wilson’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet collided with the No. 44 Dallara-Honda of Katherine Legge in Turn 1. The impact shot Wilson’s car head on into the outside SAFER barrier.
After being lifted from the car with use of a back brace, Wilson was put on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance. He immediately was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital, where the injury was diagnosed. Wilson will be held overnight for further tests and observation.
Legge said she was OK after being evaluated at the IU Health Infield Medical Hospital. Her team will repair the damage to her car rather than switch to a backup car.
“The cars in front were all checking up,” Legge told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “I lifted as much as I could and downshifted, hit the brakes, but it wasn’t enough as they were checking up. So I ran into the back of Stefan, and we both ended up in the wall.”
It was another tough break for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, which failed to qualify Graham Rahal’s car Sunday for the Indy 500. RLL teammate Jack Harvey bumped Rahal from the 33-car starting lineup, joining Legge and Christian Lundgaard (who all qualified in the last two rows).
“I know it’s another blow to the team, though after yesterday, those guys don’t deserve it,” Legge said. “That’s not right.”