According to IndyCar, British racer Justin Wilson died yesterday from head injuries he received August 23 during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway. He drove for Andretti Autosport.
Wilson was struck in the head by a large piece of debris from the car of rookie driver Sage Karam whose car spun out in turn 1 on lap 179 of Sunday’s 200–lap race. After being hit in the head, the debris flew high into the air while Wilson’s car veered left and hit an interior wall. He was air-lifted by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania in a coma in critical condition.
Only 37 years old, Wilson is survived by his wife Julia and two daughters, Jane, 7 and Jessica, 5. His family issued a statement that confirmed his death and thanked the various racing and medical communities who took care of him as well as the racing community for the “amazing outpouring of support from fans around the world.” The family requested that “in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wilson Children’s Fund care of IndyCar.
His brother Stefan Wilson, also a racecar driver, tweeted “Can’t even begin to describe the loss I feel right now. He was my Brother, my best friend, my role model and mentor. He was a champion!” And Karam also tweeted, “I can’t find the proper words to describe the pain and sympathy I feel for Justin and his family. #RIPJustin.”
IndyCar drivers are more susceptible to head injuries because their cockpits are open. Racing legend Mario Andretti told The Associated Press that “Motor racing is never going to be 100 percent safe. If it was, there would be nobody in the grandstands.” Andretti’s description of what happened to Wilson really reflects what he says all drivers fear – “getting caught up in somebody else’s mistake.”
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