IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe says he’ll have second surgery soon, pledges racing return

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(June 10, 2015) – IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe talked Wednesday about his recovery following a fiery May 18 crash during Indianapolis 500 practice.

Hinchcliffe was injured and taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital after his car hit the turn 3 barrier. He suffered significant blood loss as a result of the accident after one of the car’s suspension wishbones went through his right leg and into his left leg, piercing an artery. He was pinned until safety crews arrived.

During a teleconference Wednesday, Hinchcliffe revealed he’ll have another surgery in the next “four to six weeks” that would put him down for a couple of weeks.

“Feelin’ pretty good,” Hinchcliffe answered when asked about his recovery. He didn’t think he’d be physically able to make it to the upcoming race in Toronto, which the Canadian driver said is very special to him as both a spectator and racer.

“My condition improves almost daily,” Hinchcliffe said. “The pain level has been going down every single day.

“The bad days are getting fewer and fewer and farther in between.”

The IndyCar driver said he’s almost off his pain medication and admitted the fracture to his pelvis has been the most uncomfortable part of the whole ordeal. He referred to the crash and the days after as a blur and said he didn’t recall much about it.

“For whatever reason, I’m not sure if it’s some sort of defense mechanism, despite being conscious during the process, I have been spared any memories of the accident,” he said.

“I still have a lot of questions about the day because I don’t remember so much of it.”

He’s trying to stay active, although he joked his biggest decision each day is deciding how much time to spend on the couch vs. lying in bed. Still, the signs of progress are evident.

“The kind of big first step was getting permission to get onto an elliptical machine,” he said.

Hinchcliffe said he’s been touched by the outpouring of support from fans and others in the racing community. He’s been “overwhelmed” with cards, letters, visitors, text messages, emails and encouraging messages on social media.

“It’s probably been the most real element of this adventure,” he said.

He gives a lot of credit to his doctors and IndyCar’s safety team for saving his life.

“I’m not just saying this because I’ve had an accident… we are so fortunate in IndyCar to have the safety team.”

Hinchcliffe said doctors told him if the piece that pierced him had been a few millimeters over or at a different angle, “it might not have been a survivable injury.”

He remains looped in with owners and teammates at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and said he’s doing everything he can to help the team throughout the rest of the season. He knows he faces a long recovery but wants to get back behind the wheel when he’s ready.

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