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Canadian racer James Hinchcliffe is on the mend!

Hinchcliffe was seriously injured in a crash during practice for the Indy 500

Published: May 22, 2015, 3:40 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:00 PM

James Hinchcliffe - 2015 - Photo by Chris Owens - James Hinchcliffe - 2015 

To the great relief of Canadian auto racing fans, James Hinchcliffe is on the mend.

The Oakville, Ontario, native has now been transferred out of Intensive Care at the IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he was rushed into surgery on May 18, following a vicious crash into the wall during practice for Sunday's 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.

James Hinchcliffe - NOLA 2015 - Photo by Bret Kelley

Hinchcliffe, who won an IndyCar race in Indiana earlier this year, crashed when a component in the right front suspension of his car failed, slamming it into the outside wall of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at something close to 224 mph (360 km/h).

A piece of the broken suspension pierced the car's carbon fibre tub and Hinch's left pelvis and thigh area, damaging soft tissue, blood vessels and arteries and causing significant blood loss, according to reports from the scene.

Sam Schmidt, co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and the #5 Dallara-Honda he was driving, characterized the injury mode as "a dagger straight through the bottom of the seat."

Hinchcliffe was immediately extracted from the wreck and transferred directly into surgery at nearby Methodist Hospital. According to Dr. Timothy Pohlman, who performed the surgery, "his condition was critical upon his arrival."

Fortunately, the surgery was successful, no further procedures will be required and he is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries, according to a statement from IndyCar.

He has, however been ruled out of competition for the foreseeable future.

In his own statement, Hinchcliffe said: "Words can't describe how thankful I am to the (IndyCar Series') Holmatro Safety Team. Those guys, in addition to the doctors and staff at the hospital, are my heroes. I can't say enough how much I appreciate the outpouring of support from INDYCAR fans, my family and fellow drivers. We are all one big family and it feels like that today."

Practice was put on hold following Hinchcliffe's crash while the cause was investigated, in case it might also be a source of failure on other cars. It was determined to be a failed right-front suspension rocker arm – a critical component that transfers loads from the wheel to the spring and damper.

According to a report by Racer magazine, the failed part was more than three years old and had accumulated 14,000 miles (22,500 km) of use. It has since been superseded by a thicker, more robust second-generation rocker, which many teams have purchased and installed.  

Hinchcliffe's car will be driven in the Indy 500 by Ryan Briscoe, who will start it from the last row of the grid. The full starting lineup is as follows,

Starting lineup for the 99th Indianapolis 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with car number and qualifying speed (mph) in parentheses: 
                                             1. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 02:38.7579 (226.760)
2. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 02:39.0458 (226.350)
3. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 02:39.1900 (226.145)
4. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 02:39.6428 (225.503)
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 02:39.6439 (225.502)
6. (25) Justin Wilson, Honda, 02:39.8022 (225.279)
7. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 02:39.8626 (225.193)
8. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 02:39.8659 (225.189)
9. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 02:39.8670 (225.187)
10. (6) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 02:39.9297 (225.099)
11. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 02:39.9703 (225.042)
12. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 02:40.0830 (224.883)
13. (32) Oriol Servia, Honda, 02:40.1585 (224.777)
14. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 02:40.1828 (224.743)
15. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 02:40.2446 (224.657)
16. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 02:40.3041 (224.573)
17. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:40.5064 (224.290)
18. (29) Simona de Silvestro, Honda, 02:40.8304 (223.838)
19. (7) James Jakes, Honda, 02:40.8651 (223.790)
20. (48) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 02:40.9140 (223.722)
21. (8) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 02:41.0051 (223.595)
22. (43) Conor Daly, Honda, 02:41.0865 (223.482)
23. (24) Townsend Bell, Chevrolet, 02:41.1119 (223.447)
24. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 02:41.2718 (223.226)
25. (63) Pippa Mann, Honda, 02:41.3600 (223.104)
26. (98) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 02:41.4958 (222.916)
27. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 02:41.5086 (222.898)
28. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 02:40.9022 (223.738)
29. (4) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 02:42.1617 (222.001)
30. (88) Bryan Clauson, Chevrolet, 02:42.6328 (221.358)
31. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 02:41.0602 (223.519) *
32. (18) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 02:40.5473 (224.233)**
33. (19) James Davison, Honda, 02:40.8960 (223.747) ***

* - Substitute driver for James Hinchcliffe, who qualified car on May 17; ** - Replacement driver for Carlos Huertas, who qualified car on May 17; *** - Replacement driver for Tristan Vautier, who qualified car on May 17.