Stefan Wilson will miss the Indianapolis 500 after a huge crash in Monday’s practice.
The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Cusick Motorsports driver had qualified 25th for Sunday’s race, but was collected in a crash while pack running.
Entering Turn 2 the pack seemed to slow and with Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Katherine Legge wasn’t able to avoid hitting Wilson’s car which went head on into the wall.
He was extricated and placed on a stretcher before being sent by ambulance to IU Health Methodist Hospital for further checks, all the while being conscious and communicating.
It’s now clear Wilson suffered a fracture in the 12th thoracic vertebrae and a team statement has confirmed he can no longer race.
Statement regarding Stefan Wilson’s condition. pic.twitter.com/vOS4le2vgq
— Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (@DreyerReinbold) May 22, 2023
The team has not confirmed if it will sign a replacement driver or who that may be and says it will “have more information in due course”.
Hard to find the right words for this post. I feel so dejected for @stef_wilson – he has dedicated himself to this effort & this race means everything to him. He has surrounded himself with amazing partners in @DreyerReinbold & the Cusick family. You’ll be back strong next year.
— Ryan Hunter-Reay (@RyanHunterReay) May 23, 2023
On Sunday, Graham Rahal was bumped out of the race by his team-mate Jack Harvey. His move would require him moving from a Honda to a Chevy-powered car and there are all sorts of questions that would have to be asked of Rahal switching teams, like with things such as sponsors.
The Race’s IndyCar Podcast co-host JR Hildebrand is set to break a run of 12 consecutive 500 appearances, but did complete his medical last week in case one undisclosed driver on the grid wasn’t able to race.
That deal never came to fruition, but he told The Race IndyCar Podcast that seeing the cars line up for practice last Tuesday told him his desire to race again at the 500 is just as strong as ever.
Hildebrand – who raced for D&R from 2018-2020 – was in Indy on Sunday and Monday to test a midget car he’ll drive in a short-track race nearby this Friday.
He would still need to do a refresher test before the race, but when James Hinchcliffe crashed in 2015, a special refresher was run on the Thursday for Ryan Briscoe to replace him, so there is precedent.