There was a terrifying moment at Houston’s IndyCar Grand Prix on Sunday when a car was sent airborne in a crash and injured 13 fans. Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti was jostling for position with Takuma Sato on the very last lap of the race when their cars crashed.
Franchitti’s car then skied up and into a catch fence lining the track. The debris resulted in the hospitalization of two spectators while the 11 other injured fans were treated on-site.
Franchitti himself is also in the hospital, where he will remain overnight. The driver suffered two fractured vertebra, a fractured ankle and a concussion, but was aware and awake at the track – a very positive sign.
Fox News explains how similar the crash looked to a disastrous 2011 race:
The accident in Turn 5 was reminiscent of Dan Wheldon’s fatal 2011 crash at Las Vegas in that competitors had to drive through the wreckage.
It was a sobering moment for race winner Will Power, who broke his back in Las Vegas crash, and for Scott Dixon, who took control of the IndyCar championship race Sunday but passed by teammate Franchitti’s car and waved in an attempt to get an update on his condition.
“The smells and the visuals, for me, and even talking to Will, you have the remnants of Vegas popping into your head with you coming around the corner and you can’t drive through it because there’s a field of debris,” Dixon said. “There was no near the amount of damage that we saw (in 2011), but seeing the replay was a big shock.”
Power initially seemed shaken when he climbed from his car and admitted the accident reminded him of Las Vegas, where he and Wheldon both sailed into the fence.
“I just saw Dario’s car and him sitting in it with a lot of damage, and yes, that’s what it reminded me of,” Power said. “I hate seeing that. We try to keep these cars on the ground.”