Photo Credit: indystar.com
Ed Carpenter Racing’s JR Hildebrand will replace the injured Josef Newgarden in the No. 21 Chevrolet-powered car at the Sunday, June 26th Verizon IndyCar Series race at the 14-turn 4.048-mile Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Newgarden was injured in the postponed Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday afternoon. The race went under caution on lap 42 when the No. 18 Honda-powered car of Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly got loose out of turn 4 and spun into the No. 21 Chevrolet-powered car of Newgarden. Newgarden’s car was flipped onto its side before being smashed into the SAFER barrier by Daly’s out-of-control machine, cockpit-first.
Daly walked away from the wreck unharmed. Newgarden got out of his car with some help from the Holmatro Safety Crew before crumbling to the ground in an evident state of shock. He was then transported to a local hospital for examinations on his right shoulder and right wrist. It was later revealed that he had fractured both his right clavicle and a bone in his right wrist.
Newgarden, who currently sits 4th in the IndyCar championship standings at the halfway point in the season, will have his chances at winning this year’s championship decrease big time by sitting out at Road America, as there are only 8 races remaining in the season. Not being able to gain points on the championship leader, Simon Pagenaud, whom Newgarden trails by 98 points, is going to hurt his odds big time.
Newgarden is, however, only 18 points behind Scott Dixon, who currently sits in 2nd place in the championship. If the 3 drivers in front of him don’t have the best of weekends at Road America (Pagenaud, Dixon, and Helio Castroneves) and Newgarden is able to return for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 on Sunday, July 10th, he will still be in the championship mix, especially with double points on offer for the series finale at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California on Sunday, September 19th.
Hildebrand, who will replace Newgarden at Road America, made his series debut back in 2010 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. He has driven in 39 IndyCar races, with his best finish coming at the 2011 Indianapolis 500, when he crossed the line in 2nd place after a mishap in the final turn, where he lost control of his car and lost the lead to the late Dan Wheldon.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing JR Hildebrand. You can see that Q&A right here: Q&A with JR Hildebrand.