Franchitti, Fans Injured in Violent IndyCar Crash
- Dario Franchitti was injured in a violent crash during the Houston Grand Prix on Sunday.
- The three-time Indy 500 winner was hospitalized after the crash, which also injured 13 spectators and an IndyCar Series official.
- Franchitti's car was shredded when it soared into a debris catch fence.
HOUSTON — Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, an IndyCar official and 13 spectators were injured when Franchitti's car flew into the debris catch fence in a violent crash during Sunday's Houston Grand Prix.
Franchitti fractured two vertebrae and broke his right ankle in the crash. He also suffered a concussion and was transported to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, where he underwent surgery on his ankle. He was held overnight.
The fence prevented Franchitti's car from soaring into a grandstand area at the temporary street circuit at Reliant Park, but pieces of debris rained down on spectators and IndyCar official Kim Tyger. Two of the spectators were reported to have received hospital treatment.
Several drivers and numerous observers drew comparisons to the October 2011 crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that killed two-time Indy winner Dan Wheldon.
"The smells and the visuals, for me, and even talking to [race winner Will Power], you have the remnants of Vegas popping into your head with you coming around the corner and you can't drive through it because there's a field of debris," said Franchitti's Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon.
Dixon finished 2nd and took over the lead in Izod IndyCar Series driver points with one race left on the schedule.
The crash occurred when Franchitti's right front tire ran upon the left rear tire of a car driven by Takuma Sato in Turn 5 of the circuit. The car lifted into the air and the nose pierced the wire fencing above movable concrete barriers that lined the circuit.
The fence shredded parts and pieces of Franchitti's car, which landed back on the track. A third car, driven by E.J. Viso, was damaged in the crash. Other drivers slowed and tried to pick their way through shards of carbon fiber and other debris.
Edmunds says: This wreck occurred at much slower speeds than the 2011 crash that killed Wheldon. But the crash still caused considerable damage and exposed the ongoing risk to competitors and spectators alike posed by the debris fencing used at most racetracks.