Dario Franchitti suffered fractures to his spine and ankle, as well as a concussion, in the massive accident on the final lap of today's IndyCar Series race in Houston.
IndyCar medical consultant Terry Trammel, who has attended to and repaired Indy car drivers for decades, provided the news to the IndyCar Series after the 40-year-old Scot had been transported to a nearby hospital and evaluated. Trammel also reported Franchitti's back fracture will not require surgery.
Franchitti, who drives for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, was involved in an accident with A.J. Foyt Racing driver Takuma Sato entering Turn 7 on the street circuit. Sato appeared to have gotten loose just as Franchitti was setting up the Japanese driver for a pass, but a Foyt team representative also told RACER that the possibility of a puncture was being investigated by the team as the cause of his sudden sideways moment.
The crash broke two sections of trackside fencing, with one piece landing in the grandstands. The local Houston fire department reported 13 fans were injured, with 11 treated and released onsite while two were sent to the hospital.
Franchitti injured his left ankle in a stock car crash in 2008 and has dealt with ongoing back pain after a motorcycle crash in 2003. He fractured a vertebrae in that accident, and added to his back troubles when he flipped and crashed on the Kentucky oval in 2007.
The three-time Indy 500 winner's participation in the season finale at the Fontana oval in two weeks is now in question, and should the team choose to field an entry, there are a few good options to consider, including 2011 Indy 500 polesitter Alex Tagliani and 2013 Indy 500 runner-up Carlos Munoz, among others.