IndyCar driver Robert Wickens badly injured in terrifying crash

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens sustained orthopedic injuries in the crash and was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he was being evaluated Sunday night.

Surgery is also anticipated once the injuries are confirmed. He also suffered bruising to his lungs in the crash. "He's hurt. He's awake and alert and at least he's alive", fellow driver Sebastien Bourdais said.

Although deaths are rare in the sport since recent safety innovations have come into effect, both IndyCar and Formula One last suffered tragedy within a month of each other in 2015.

Wickens was "awake and alert", but has been taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.

The 23-year-old Andretti Autosport rookie was more mindful of the big picture in his first full-time Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Wickens' auto drove over the front of Hunter-Reay's and smashed into the catch fence out of Turn 2.

Justin Wilson died from a head injury in 2015 when a piece of debris from a crashed auto bounced off the track at Pocono Raceway and hit his helmet.

Power finished second, with championship leader Scott Dixon third.

A 29-year-old IndyCar rookie with worldwide experience, Wickens was trying to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay on the first lap when the two cars touched.

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The collision came as they exited turn two and caused Hunter-Reay's auto to careen into the wall, and Wickens' vehicle was pulled along with it.

The race was red-flagged for almost two hours so the catch fence could be repaired.

IndyCar Race Control said there will be four laps around the track before the green flag falls again for the third time today. Sebastien Bourdais raised concerns about the quality of the repairs and condition of the fence before he got back in the vehicle.

Canadian James Hinchcliffe and Takuma Sato were among the other drivers involved in the wreck.

Robert Wickens was hospitalised after this.

It's the same track where Justin Wilson died in 2015 after being hit in the helmet by a piece of debris from a crashed auto. Robert Wickens, who qualified sixth in the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, has been delivering the kind of consistent results that Veach is striving for. Hinchcliffe appeared to be in pain and was seen grabbing his wrists as he slowly left his auto, but later left the medical tent and told NBCSN that he was on his way to visit Wickens in the hospital. "The start can be debated for years, but doesn't matter right now, focus on the well being of our friends and competitors", Graham Rahal tweeted.

It was the second crash of the race, as Rahal wrecked Spencer Pigot while the green flag flew on Lap 1.

Pocono is one of the fastest tracks on the IndyCar calendar.