News

Dozens injured, driver Franchitti hospitalized in Indy Car crash

Dozens injured, driver Franchitti hospitalized in Indy Car crash

INDY CAR CRASH: Safety team members work to remove Dario Franchitti, of Scotland, from his car after a crash during the second IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston auto race, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Houston. Photo: Associated Press/AP Photo/Juan DeLeon

(Reuters) – A terrifying crash put three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti in a Houston hospital with a spinal fracture on Sunday and left over a dozen spectators injured.

Franchitti’s car went airborne and destroyed a portion of the catch fence at the Grand Prix of Houston, sending shards of debris into the packed grandstands where spectators were on their feet cheering the race’s final lap.

The 40-year-old Briton, who also suffered a concussion and broken ankle, was awake and alert when he was sent to hospital, where he will stay overnight but not require surgery for the spinal fracture, IndyCar said in a statement.

“He’s talking,” Chip Ganassi, team owner of the car that Franchitti drives, said during a television interview. “His ankle is a little sore. His back is a little sore. He’s going to take a trip to the hospital, but he is OK.”

The crash came less than eight months after nearly 30 fans were injured at the Daytona International Speedway when a 10-car crash sent debris, including a tire, into the crowd during the final lap of a Nationwide NASCAR race.

It is also nearly two years since the motor racing world was left reeling when one of Franchitti’s best friends, fellow Briton Dan Wheldon, died after a fierce 15-car crash in the IndyCar season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Franchitti made contact with Japanese drive Takuma Sato on one of the final turns, sending the four-time IndyCar champion’s car airborne into the protective fence before spinning several times, while debris was sprayed toward the grandstands.

“On the last lap I caught the marbles and brushed the wall and lost momentum,” Sato said. “A couple cars passed me as I was off line and in turn five. I got very loose and Dario and I came together. Hopefully Dario is OK.”

An IndyCar official and two spectators were transported to hospital for evaluation, according to the auto-racing body, while the Houston Chronicle reported 11 other spectators were evaluated on-site.

Franchitti is a four-time IndyCar Series Champion in his fifth season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing alongside two-time champion Scott Dixon.

The native of Scotland has 261 starts under his belt in Indy Car racing and made headlines last January when he and American actress Ashley judd announced they were ending their marriage after 11 years.

“Thank you for the prayers for @dariofranchitti I have only clothes on my back & the dogs but that’s all that we need & we are on our way,” Judd said on her Twitter site.

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Graham Trucking takes the Albert Lee Appliance Cup title despite finishing 2nd

Fresh
J. Michael Kelly drives the Graham Trucking H1 Unlimited Hydroplane boat to a first place finish on Lake Washington, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in Seattle, in the Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup in the annual Seafair hydroplane races. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

J. Michael Kelly, the driver of the Graham Trucking hydroplane, was awarded the Albert Lee Appliance Cup title despite finishing in second place behind Jimmy Shane and the Oh Boy! Oberto! boat.

in Entertainment, Sports

Ronda Rousey biopic in the works

rrousey

Paramount executives have picked up the rights to the 28-year-old's autobiography.

in Sports

Daily fantasy sports land in gambling industry crosshairs

yahoofantasy

Each year millions of Americans draft virtual sports teams online and enter real-money competitions that last only a few hours.

in Local Sports

DeSean Jackson says no one can stop him not even Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman

washingtoncamp

"I don't think no on can guard me. It's how I feel about myself. I don't feel no one can stop me. You can get Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman - whoever you want to get."

in Sports

Judge: St. Louis residents don’t need vote on stadium funds

In this Sept. 26, 2013 file photo, fans watch during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Pro football may have a firm foothold as America’s game, but in baseball-mad St. Louis the NFL is decidedly second fiddle. The St. Louis Cardinals can anticipate a red army at Busch Stadium for Game 5 of the World Series. Eight blocks away at the antiseptic Edward Jones Dome, the Monday Night Football matchup between the struggling St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks will likely feature a backdrop of thousands of empty seats.

The St. Louis Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome, which is outdated by NFL standards. The team is weighing a move to Los Angeles