Wickens airlifted to hospital after violent Pocono IndyCar crash

Track workers repair a section of fence after a wreck during the Indy Car auto race at Pocono Raceway Sunday Aug. 19 2018 in Long Pond Pa

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Canadian driver Robert Wickens has been taken to hospital following a terrifying crash in the IndyCar race at the high-speed Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

The Verizon IndyCar Series race was red flagged and did not restart for approximately two hours after the crash, which occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Wickens, who still lists Guelph as his home, was attempting to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay when the two cars touched.

Part of the fence was destroyed and most of the Honda Wickens was driving went all over the track.

Repairs on the wall took roughly two hours.

IndyCar spokesman Curt Cavin told race broadcaster NBC Sports Network that Wickens was "awake and alert" and was being taken by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown for further treatment.

Wickens, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Pietro Fittipaldi and Takuma Sato were the drivers involved in the crash.

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The collision caused Hunter-Reay's auto to careen into the wall, and Wickens' vehicle was pulled along with it. That is neither here nor there right now - we're just thinking about Robert. The impact of the wreck tore out about 80 feet of fence, damaged a few posts and stopped the race.

People we spoke to say they enjoy coming to the IndyCar race because it's so different from the other races that take place here in the summer.

Alexander Rossi won the race and said it was "tough to celebrate" with Wickens in the hospital.

"Praying for @robertwickens & the rest of the drivers involved at Pocono", Stefan Wilson tweeted.

Hinchcliffe and Wickens form an all-Canadian Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team.

Fittipaldi was checked for an ankle injury.

The race start was rendered irrelevant when Graham Rahal clipped the right-rear corner of Spencer Pigot, spinning the Ed Carpenter Racing driver into the wall while Rahal continued with a wounded front wing.

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Rossi led for 180 of the 200 lap race to record his second straight IndyCar Series victory. He left the auto and was out of the race.

Dixon finished third and his points lead over Rossi dipped to just 29 points, as neither driver can afford much of a slip up in the title hunt.

There are three races left in the season. "He's hurt. He's awake and alert and at least he's alive", driver Sebastien Bourdais said.

The crash was a grim reminder how drivers in open-wheel racing put their lives on the line.

After 14 races, Dixon has accumulated 530 points to 501 for Rossi.

For Rossi, his thoughts were with Wickens.

"The first thing I asked was if he was okay", Rossi said when he came around the track and saw the damage and debris.

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"We just like to be able to come in and see the cars, and it's just a lot of excitement when you see the cars running at the same time", Farley said.

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