Will Power and Nelson Philippe sustained broken vertebrae and a leg fracture, respectively in their crash in practice at Sonoma today.
Both drivers have been hospitalized following this morning's practice accident, which saw Power collect Philippe's spun car at high speed. Power sustained two broken vertebra and will be hospitalised overnight, Penske Racing and IndyCar officials confirmed. Philippe suffered a fracture of his left leg.
The Penske car T-boned Philippe's Conquest machine as it sat stationery on the track at the exit of Turn 3A, a blind right-hander at the crest of a hill. After its nose was clipped by EJ Viso's HVM car as it exited the turn at speed, Philippe's Dallara-Honda was struck hard on its right side by Power's No. 12 Penske entry.
Power was airlifted to a hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif., while Philippe was transported by ground. Both drivers were unconscious when safety crews first arrived but were conscious before being transported. Power was reportedly moving his arms and legs before being airlifted. He was immobilized on a back board and safety workers had administered an intravenous tube.
"He knows the difference between his big toes and little toes," Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said. "He's able to move all of them, and he was lifting his legs up. He was unconscious when they got to him, so he does have a concussion, but he was awake and alert and talking when they took him out. He's complaining of back pain."
IndyCar officials said lights on the drivers' steering wheels indicating a local caution had been illuminated, but it was unclear whether a yellow flag was waving in the corner. Several seconds elapsed between Viso's contact with Philippe's car and Power's impact. The incident began when Philippe spun at the exit of the turn, his second spin of the practice session.
Philippe reportedly endured a lengthy delay in his trip to the hospital when his ambulance was stuck in traffic.
Neither driver nor car is expected to compete in Sunday's race. IndyCar rules state that drivers who sustain concussions must sit out for a specified period of time before returning to racing. Penske Racing crew members were seen packing up the No. 12 car before today's qualifying session.
When asked if the team would consider another driver for Sunday's race, Cindric said, "It's Power or nobody."