IndyCar legend Paul Tracy calling for safety changes after Wickens' crash
Canadian racer broke both legs, right arm, and injured spine following horrific Pocono collision
Canadian Paul Tracy is calling for change in the auto racing industry.
The outspoken former IndyCar star made the comment on Instagram on Monday — the day after fellow Canadian Robert Wickens was involved in a horrific crash at Pocono Raceway — to get out his thoughts on track safety. Wickens, of Guelph, Ont., sustained a pulmonary contusion and injuries to his lower extremities, right arm and spine after trying to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay during the ABC Supply 500 in Long Pond, Pa.
The two cars slightly touched, resulting in Wickens' vehicle soaring over Hunter-Reay's. Wickens hit the catchfence and the tub of his IndyCar spun several times before crashing back on to the track.
Watch the crash:
Wickens, 29, who was airlifted to hospital, was "awake and alert."
A release from IndyCar said Wickens was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday evening for a spinal injury after an MRI "was instrumental in revealing the most appropriate surgical course."
"So relieved that @robertwickens will be ok, but that again was too close for comfort," Tracy said in his post. "It's long overdue for the racing industry to start looking into a new way of retaining the cars inside the track without poles, fence and cable.
"If it were me I would have much rather gone out of the park!!! We lost @danwheldon, @dario—franchitti and @robertwickens had a angel looking down on them."
Wheldon died from severe head injuries during an IndyCar event in October 2011. He was 33.
Franchitti, 45, a four-time IndyCar champion and three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, retired from racing after being involved in a serious crash at the Grand Prix of Houston in October 2013.
"But it's time as a community of racers and fans to push things to a higher level," Tracy continued. "I know racing is a dangerous game and we know the risks, but it can always be better.
"Sorry for the rant, I'm just thinking out Loud. Let's all put our thinking caps on for the best solution and most cost effective one. Peace."
In 2015 at Pocono, Justin Wilson died from a head injury when a piece of debris from a crashed car bounced off the track and hit his helmet.
Tracy, 49, of Toronto, was the '03 Champ Car (now IndyCar) champion and at age 16 became the youngest Canadian Formula Ford champion ever. He also captured the Indy Lights title in 1990.
Affectionately dubbed, 'The Thrill From West Hill,' Tracy registered 31 career IndyCar wins, including the 2002 Indianapolis 500. His aggressive driving style and unwillingness to pull punches off the track helped foster Tracy's bad-boy reputation.
Last month, Tracy, who was involved in dust-ups with fellow drivers Alex Tagliani of Lachenaie, Que., and Sebastien Bourdais, told The Canadian Press that IndyCar needs bad guys to help market the sport.
Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., Pietro Fittipaldi and Takuma Sato were among the drivers also involved in Sunday's wreck. Hinchcliffe appeared to suffer a wrist injury as a result of the mishap but was cleared and released from the medical centre.
Praying for a speedy recovery for <a href="https://twitter.com/robertwickens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@robertwickens</a> & strength for <a href="https://twitter.com/itsKarliWoods?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@itsKarliWoods</a> by his side. 🙏🏼—@BeccyGordon
Hinchcliffe and Wickens form an all-Canadian Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team. They competed against one another in Toronto with Hinchcliffe, the runner-up on ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' in 2017, helping lure Wickens to IndyCar this season.
Hinchcliffe had his brush with serious injury in 2015 when a broken piece from his car severed an artery during a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Quick action by the medical team to hold the artery together as it moved Hinchcliffe from the track to the hospital prevented the Canadian from bleeding to death.
The previous season, Hinchcliffe suffered a concussion at Indianapolis after being hit by debris on the road course. Hinchcliffe was unavailable for comment Monday.