Los Angeles – Former IndyCar driver Paul Tracy on Monday called on the sport to review safety standards after the crash at the Pocono 500 which left Canadian rookie Robert Wickens in hospital with multiple injuries.
Wickens suffered two broken legs and injuries to his lung and spine on Sunday after his car was sent hurtling into the catch fence following a collision with Ryan Hunter-Reay’s IndyCar at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
The 29-year-old was later described as “awake and alert” after being transported to a nearby hospital.
IndyCar officials announced on Monday that Wickens would undergo surgery for his spinal injury.
Earlier Tracy, who now works as a commentator for NBC television, said in a social media post that IndyCar should find an alternative to chain link fencing and posts around racetracks.
“So relieved that @robertwickens will be ok, but that again was too close for comfort,” Tracy wrote.
“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.”
Fellow drivers on Sunday said Wickens was lucky to be alive.
“He is hurt but hopefully not too bad. At least he is alive,” said French driver Sebastien Bourdais.
Bourdais, who finished fourth after the race resumed following a two-hour delay, later said he had been unhappy with makeshift repairs to the section of fence damaged in Wickens’ crash.
“When we saw the extent of the damage I had a pretty good idea that it wasn’t gonna get fixed properly, and it wasn’t,” the 39-year-old said.
“The cables were loose, and it was pretty lousy. So I wasn’t happy with it at all.”
Wickens’ crash occurred three years after British driver Justin Wilson died in an accident at Pocono in 2015.
Wilson was fatally injured after being struck by debris from an accident involving Sage Karam.