Los Angeles: Canadian rookie Robert Wickens was in hospital with "orthopedic injuries" after a frightening airborne crash in the early stages of the IndyCar Pocono race won by ex-Formula One racer Alexander Rossi.
Wickens, of Guelph, Ontario, was rushed to hospital by air ambulance on Sunday after he collided with Ryan Hunter-Reay's IndyCar at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
The collision came as they exited turn two and caused Hunter-Reay's car to careen into the wall, and Wickens' car was pulled along with it.
Wickens launched over Hunter-Reay's car and sailed into the catchfence, where the main body of his IndyCar spun several times before landing back onto the track in pieces.
IndyCar spokesman Curt Cavin said the rookie driver was "awake and alert" as he was transported to a nearby hospital.
IndyCar released a statement after the race saying the 29-year-old suffered "orthopedic injuries" but declined to go into details.
"Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens, involved in a crash on Lap 7 of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway today, has been admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with orthopedic injuries. He is still being evaluated," the statement said.
"It’s been a long day here at @poconoraceway. We’re keeping @robertwickens in our thoughts after that scary incident."
Fellow drivers said Wickens was lucky to be alive.
"He is hurt but hopefully not too bad. At least he is alive," said French driver Sebastien Bourdais.
Hunter-Reay was also among those treated for injuries after a crash that also swept up Pietro Fittipaldi, James Hinchcliffe and Takuma Sato.
The race was restarted after a two-hour delay while race workers cleared the track and fixed the busted fence.
Hunter-Reay said he felt fortunate to have come out of it without more serious injuries. He was one those who was treated at the race track medical facility and released.
"I was lucky to get out of that one," said Hunter-Reay.
Fittipaldi wasn't involved in the initial collision but was right behind the others in a tight pack and ran head long into smoke and debris.