Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Monday Practice Crash at Indianapolis Leaves James Hinchcliffe Seriously Injured

Photo Credit: Jim Haines



Being a glorious motorsport locale that his tested many of the world's greatest challengers of speed, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway also bears the reputation for placing individuals on the borderline of blazing fast records and shear danger. Over time and through the injury and loss of so many legends behind the wheel, the efforts for improved safety has been granted a similar devotion as the passion to push a vehicle to faster feats. Early Monday afternoon, one of the most serious incidents resulted in a case where one of IndyCar's most popular drivers James Hinchcliffe became trapped within the undesired, worrisome zone that always haunts motorsports.

Silence came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a result of a massive, high-impact into the turn 3 SAFER barrier wall. At 1:21 p.m. local time, the #5 car of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports piloted by Oakville's James Hinchcliffe struck the wall after a quick puff of smoke appeared underneath his race car. Striking the turn 3 barrier, Hinchcliffe's #5 car suffered heavy right front damage on the initial impact. The vehicle then careened down the track as both right wheels broke off the car. Briefly sliding on its right side, the #5 car eventually stopped in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's turn 4.  

Safety crew quickly rushed to the wreckage of the Dallara chassis structure as the Honda bodywork was scattered across the turn 3-4 complex. As Hinchcliffe was evaluated on the scene and removed, some relief came as the driver appeared awake. However, James Hinchcliffe was also found to be seriously injured at the scene following the crash. He was immediately transported to nearby IU Health Methodist Hospital with no word given to the general public for the reason. 

At 4 p.m. local time, IndyCar provided its first update on James Hinchcliffe explaining the winner of this year's Grand Prix of Louisiana underwent surgery on his left upper thigh. At about 8 p.m. Monday evening, IndyCar released a follow-up on the condition of James Hinchcliffe. Said to be in the Intensive Care Unit at hospital, the Canadian driver remains in stable condition heading into the night. Hinchcliffe's car co-owner Sam Schmidt commented, "That's the most important thing on our minds right now and we will do absolutely everything required to ensure a complete recovery.". A sentiment echoed through by race fans on social media and journalists sending heartfelt well-wishes to the driver recognized as "The Mayor of Hinchtown". Active and retired drivers have also voiced their support to James Hinchcliffe. The following tweet was shared by former race competitor Dario Franchitti.



Another IndyCar news release detailing the Monday's practice offered some information regarding for the reason of James Hinchcliffe's crash. According to a Honda spokesperson, a right front suspension piece failed on the #5 car causing the crash.

On Sunday, James Hinchcliffe qualified for the Indianapolis 500 in 24th place through a run he called frustrating and hindered by strong winds. Looking forward to running his fifth 500-mile classic at the historic track for 2015, the Canadian stated in a post-qualifying interview, "You've got to be smart, you've got to make it to Lap 150, Lap 170 before you can start thinking about making it to the end of the race. As long as you do that, you're going to be up there."

In the coming day or days, more details on the condition of James Hinchcliffe should provide a glimpse into his road to recovery. We all hope it is a speedy one!


The following is the video posted by RTV6 | The Indy Channel of James Hinchcliffe's crash. (Warning, it is a violent-looking accident):

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