IndyCar Driver Justin Wilson Dies of Head Injury

by
Reuters
British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died on Monday after suffering a severe head injury during a wreck in the closing laps of a race on Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, IndyCar officials said. He was 37.

British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died on Monday after suffering a severe head injury during a wreck in the closing laps of a race on Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, IndyCar officials said. He was 37.

Wilson, a former Formula One driver and seven-time winner in IndyCar racing, had been in a coma at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, before his death.

"This is a monumentally sad day for IndyCar and the motorsports community as a whole," Mark Miles, chief executive officer of Hulman & Co, the parent of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement.

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"Justin's elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility - which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock," Miles added.

Wilson's family said in a statement that he was a "loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers."

Wilson's car careened out of control and into a wall after he was hit by a large piece of debris from the car of Sage Karam.

Karam, 20, was leading the race when his car spun out on lap 179 of the 200-lap race in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, and smacked the outside wall, sending pieces of the car airborne. He was taken to the same hospital as Wilson with heel and wrist injuries but was released on Sunday night.

Karam will be re-evaluated before being cleared to drive, IndyCar officials said.

"I can't find the proper words to describe the pain and sympathy I feel for Justin and his family," Karam said in a statement on Twitter, followed by the hashtag #RIPJustin.

Karam said earlier that he "had a really great race car and I felt comfortable and in a position to be in striking distance for the win."

"The car just unfortunately came around on me in the middle of Turn 1 and I had no indication it was about to go," he said.

Wilson, a native of Sheffield, England, who lived in Longmont, Colorado, is survived by his wife and two daughters. Funeral arrangements were pending, IndyCar said in a statement, adding a fund had been established for his children.