INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 19, 2015) - James Hinchcliffe was supposed to be on a media tour Tuesday, the day the full Indianapolis 500 field traditionally makes quick trips all across the country promoting the race.
But Verizon IndyCar Series driver Hinchcliffe is recovering in the Intensive Care Unit at IU Health Methodist Hospital after a crash during practice Monday afternoon.
He underwent surgery for an injury to his upper left thigh Monday afternoon and was transferred to the ICU in stable condition.
"Obviously we're relieved that James is awake and out of surgery," said Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt. "That's the most important thing on our minds right now and we will do absolutely everything required to ensure a complete recovery."
As of Tuesday morning, there was no official statement from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the Verizon IndyCar Series about his status for race weekend.
After the crash, many of Hinchcliffe's fellow drivers rushed to the infield medical center to check on him, but he was taken immediately to IU Health Methodist Hospital after he was out of his race car.
Hinchliffe is a favorite not just among fans, but also the entire racing series. The Canadian is well-known for his fun personality and sense of humor.
His fellow drivers say he's on their minds, but when they get behind the wheel, they have to block everything out.
"The best attribute of a good race car driver is a short memory," said Bryan Clauson, driver of the No. 88 KVSH/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Chevrolet. "You see things like that and you just kind of wipe them clean."
Ed Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 CFH Racing Chevrolet and another person to crash this month, said, "We’re happy Hinch is okay but the show goes on and I don’t mean that in a negative light, but we've all got a job to do and we've got to get ready for the greatest race in the world."
Carpenter's teammate Josef Newgarden also went airborne in a big practice crash.
"You live to drive the car and regardless of what happens, your job is to get back in and do it," said Newgarden.
James Quebbeman is a fan and said, "It’s a risk. These guys know what’s going on. It’s part of the job."
Fan Kerri Donohue said, "They've made the cars safer and safer all the time, but there’s still the element of danger to them."
The next practice session is scheduled for Carb Day on Friday.