LONG POND, Pa. — "Justin Wilson was transported by helicopter to a hospital Sunday after he appeared to have been struck by a piece of debris from Sage Karam’s car when it crashed in front of him during the final laps of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.
In a statement just after 9 p.m. ET Sunday, the Verizon IndyCar Series said:
“Wilson sustained a severe head injury during today’s event at Pocono Raceway.
Wilson is currently in a coma and in critical condition while undergoing further evaluation at Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa.
IndyCar sends its thoughts and prayers to Justin, his family and Andretti Autosport during this difficult time.
Additional updates to Wilson’s condition will be released when available. “
Karam was leading when his No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet spun on its own in Turn 1 on Lap 179 of the 200 lap race. As parts from his car littered the track, one of the pieces appeared to strike Wilson, who was trailing.
Wilson’s car immediately veered to the left and into the inside wall on the exit of Turn 1. Safety workers immediately arrived and frantically worked to extricate Wilson from the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda.
The wall where Wilson hit was covered by a SAFER barrier.
Karam emerged from his car under his own power. He appeared to be shaken, but walked to an ambulance. He was later checked at the infield care center. IndyCar said he would be transported to Allentown as well, to evaluate a right foot injury.
IndyCar did not red flag the race for the incident, instead allowing a single file of cars to parade around the track as the safety crews worked.
POCONO: Ryan Hunter-Reay wins ABC Supply 500 under caution
Wilson, 37, is a native of Sheffield, England, who resides in Longmont, Colo. He has competed in American open-wheel racing since 2004, and competed in six races this season for Andretti Autosport, owned by former driver Michael Andretti.
“It’s a tough one right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with Justin right now,” team owner Michael Andretti said after watching another of his drivers, Ryan-Hunter Reay, win the race under caution.
Hunter-Reay was subdued in the winner’s circle as Pocono Raceway and its fans fell silent.
“I saw the trucks around him. … First thoughts with Justin, for sure. He’s my friend. I have no details right now, so it’s a bit hard not knowing anything,” Hunter-Reay said. “I thought Justin was OK the whole time. I thought he was in an ambulance and was going to get a check.”
Hunter-Reay was later told that Wilson was “unconscious and not responding” when he was airlifted to the hospital.
Wilson’s brother, Stefan Wilson, who spent four seasons (2009-12) driving in Indy Lights, the Verizon IndyCar feeder system, tweeted that he was trying to get himself and Justin’s wife, Julia, to the area, but that he had no update on his brother’s condition.
Wilson, the tallest driver in the IndyCar Series at 6-4, has seven wins and 27 podiums in his U.S. open-wheel career.
Wilson competed in 20 Formula 1 races in 2003 before he moved to the United States and began racing in the Champ Car World Series for Conquest Racing. He joined RuSPORT for his second season in 2005, and won races at Toronto and Mexico City.
He finished second in the championship in the next two seasons before Champ Car merged with the Indy Racing League in 2008. He won three races in eight years, most recently at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA ON WILSON: ‘It’s one of our guys’
Wilson, in his eighth year in IndyCar, had been unsigned at the start of the 2015 season after spending the previous three seasons driving for Dale Coyne Racing. Andretti Autosport signed the Englishman to drive the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indy 500 in May and later announced that Wilson would drive the No. 25 car for the final five races of the 2015 season.
Wilson earned his first podium of the season at the previous race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 2, finishing second to Graham Rahal. Widely regarded as the nicest, most conscientious man in the paddock, Wilson sacrificed a chance to take the lead from Rahal because he understood the moment meant more to Rahal and Honda. Rahal, a championship contender, went on to win at what he considers his home track; Wilson finished second.
Fan support has always been behind Wilson. In 2003, his management team developed a program giving individuals a chance to invest in his career. Hundreds of people bought shares in him.
Wilson has been one of three driver representatives to IndyCar along with Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan, and he recently offered a plan to help protect fans from flying debris. Instead of exploring space-age fencing, he suggested moving grandstands to the infield of oval tracks, where the debris field would be far less likely to be sprayed.
“That’s why smart rally fans stand on the inside of a corner, at the apex, and the stupid ones stand on the outside where an out-of-control car is going to go about 95 percent of the time,” Wilson told Racer.com.
This is the first season IndyCar is using aero kits with multiple pieces, many of which fly off during contact. A fan was injured in the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., when she was struck by flying debris from one of the cars."
-CREDIT TO USA TODAY
We Here At The NASCAR Source Come Together with the Motorsports Family! We send our Prayers to Justin and the Whole Wilson Family! This Week For Justin we will have his victory photo from Texas as Our Background Photo. Where the Sprint Cup Winner would normally go.