Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden has been airlifted to downtown Des Moines hospital following a fall after his crash in the second Iowa race of the IndyCar weekend on Sunday.
Newgarden dominated the first race to win on Saturday and looked to be on track to do the same before a crash inside the last 100 laps, which was potentially caused by a fault at the rear of the car.
He was released from the infield care centre after the crash and was interviewed by the media, but later had a fall – it’s not clear at this moment whether it was inside his hauler or exiting it – and he hit his head.
IndyCar medical director Dr Geoffrey Billows confirmed Newgarden “was OK” when they released him from the care centre, and stressed that Newgarden has only been sent by helicopter to the hospital because of the distance from the track (around 40 miles) and to avoid any potential traffic after the race or from a concert at the track where popular musician Blake Shelton is performing.
Billows confirmed Newgarden has an “abrasion” after falling.
Asked by The Race if Newgarden was exhibiting any concussion symptoms, Billows added: “This is the thing that makes it confusing.
“He crashed, and he was evaluated here after the crash. He was fine, we went and talked to him afterwards.
“After we talk to him he exited his hauler and he passed out or fell or whatever, so we have an abundance of caution.”
IndyCar had already been planning to re-evaluate Newgarden on Thursday before next weekend’s race on the Indianapolis road course.
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“It definitely was a bit of a shock,” Newgarden said after the race.
“I want to cry. I’m so sad for my team.
“I don’t know what happened. It was a good run. It’s just one race but I feel terrible for us.
“Team Chevy and Hitachi guys did a great job. Something went wrong there.”
When told the TV had speculated something broke on the car he added: “This is racing.
“Team Penske is the best. I never have this stuff so maybe we were due.
“We can’t afford it for this year. But we’ll fight back. We have a great team here.”
Newgarden wasn’t the only person injured after the Iowa race, as Dalton Kellett’s crewman Chris McFadden was hit during a pitstop.
He said on Instagram that a “preliminary assessment” showed a fractured femur, possible chipped bone, a puncture wound and bruising.