LONG POND, Pa. — IndyCar driver Justin Wilson was in a coma and hospitalized in critical condition with a head injury after he was struck by debris in a wreck during Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway
Wilson, 37, was hit by a large piece of debris that broke off Sage Karam's car when Karam spun into the wall while leading on Lap 180 of the ABC Supply 500. Wilson's car then veered left and directly into an interior wall.
Safety workers extracted Wilson from his car and the English veteran was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in nearby Allentown, where he was being evaluated, according to IndyCar.
Race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, Wilson's teammate at Andretti Autosport, was told that Wilson was unconscious and not responding when he was taken out of his car.
The American said his thoughts were only with Wilson, an extremely popular driver in the paddock who speaks on behalf of his peers regarding safety and competition.
"Maybe in the future we can work toward something that resembles a canopy (over the driver's open cockpit)," Hunter-Reay said. "Something that can give us a little bit of protection and still keep the tradition of the sport. Just to be an innocent bystander like that and get hit in the head with a nose cone is a scary thought."
Wilson's wife, Julia, was transported to Pennsylvania from their home in Colorado by IndyCar. His younger brother, fellow driver Stefan, make the trip from Indianapolis after NASCAR star and former IndyCar champ Tony Stewart loaned him his plane.
IndyCar had a subdued Victory Lane and Hunter-Reay was not sprayed with confetti.
The race resumed after the Karam and Wilson accident with seven laps remaining and Hunter-Reay picked his way through the field. He passed Juan Montoya, Takuma Sato and then used a bold inside pass of leader Gabby Chaves to take the lead with five to go.
Chaves then had an engine failure that brought out the caution with three to go. The race ended under yellow.
"It's just a tough one right now," said Michael Andretti, car owner for both Wilson and Hunter-Reay. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Justin right now."
Karam was taken to a hospital with an injury to his right foot.
Wilson is on a part-time deal with Andretti's team. The former Formula One driver has seven victories in major North American open-wheel series, four in Champ Car and three in IndyCar. He has 12 career podiums in IndyCar including runnerup finishes at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2009 and 2010.
Josef Newgarden was second and series leader Montoya finished third, extending his edge over Graham Rahal to 34 points heading into next week's finale in Sonoma, Calif. The finale is worth double points, and six drivers will head to California in contention for the title.
NHRA: Richie Crampton earned his fourth Top Fuel victory this season to close a record-setting day at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn. During eliminations, Antron Brown set the Top Fuel elapsed-time record at 3.680 seconds, and Spencer Massey broke the speed mark at 332.75 mph. In Funny Car, Jack Beckman (3.901 seconds) and Matt Hagan (329.58 mph) also broke class records — but none of them won their classes. Robert Hight won in Funny Car, Erica Enders in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Formula One: Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix from the pole, easily holding off Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and padding his points lead in Spa-Francorchamps. Hamilton, the defending series champion, leads Rosberg by 28 points with eight races remaining.
United Sportscar: Porsche North America teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet raced to their third straight GT Le Mans class victory, leading all 92 laps in Alton, Va.