Tuesday, 19 May 2015
By Robin Miller and Marshall Pruett / Racer.com
Great response by IndyCar’s safety and medical teams more than likely saved James Hinchcliffe’s life on Monday.
The personable Canadian driver was bleeding profusely after a vicious accident in Turn 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, according to one of Hinchcliffe’s associates who asked not to be identified when speaking with RACER, it was a life-threatening situation that was handled to perfection by IndyCar’s HOLMATRO Safety Team, and by doctors inside the ambulance that rushed him to IU Health Methodist Hospital before surgeons completed the save.
In the impact, which flattened the right side of the chassis, one of the suspension wishbones penetrated the Dallara safety cell, and subsequently caused the majority of the physical damage Hinchcliffe received. RACER has confirmed through multiple sources that Hinchcliffe had the steel wishbone enter and exit his right leg, then enter his upper left thigh, and continue into his pelvic region before it came to a stop.
The suspension component pinned the 28-year-old in the car, leading the safety team to cut the wishbone from the chassis to allow Hinchcliffe’s extraction.
With the multiple intrusions, Hinchcliffe experienced massive blood loss at the crash site, and despite the gravity of the soft tissue injuries to his lower extremities, stopping the bleeding became an immediate priority for the medical staff to address once he was pulled from the chassis.
After being placed in the ambulance, the doctors and technicians inside evidently stabilized Hinchcliffe’s injuries. It’s not known how long he was in surgery but it was “touch and go” for a while, according to the source.
“He’s probably not going to race anymore this year but the most important thing is that all those great people saved his life,” said his friend.
Hinchcliffe, who serves as Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s lead driver and won the IndyCar race at New Orleans in April, crashed entering Turn 3 during Monday’s practice session. According to timing and scoring data, he was carrying at least 228mph of momentum before a right-front suspension failure sent the No. 5 ARROW Dallara-Honda into the SAFER barrier nose first. Without the ability to steer the car, Hinchcliffe was unable to alter his course. The force of the impact reportedly measured 125 Gs.
Many observers, including those who’ve witnessed some of the most troubling crashes at Indianapolis, believe Hinchcliffe’s impact was among the most violent on record. Upon reaching the crash site, emergency workers radioed the incident in as a “Code 5,” which is reserved for traumatic situations.
Hinchcliffe remained in intensive care but was resting comfortably on Tuesday morning.