Stefan Wilson out of Indy 500 after suffering a fractured vertebrae

Michelle Foster
Stefan Wilson's crashed car taken back to the garage. Indianapolis May 2023

Stefan Wilson's crashed car taken back to the garage. Indianapolis May 2023

Stefan Wilson, the brother of the late Justin Wilson, will undergo surgery on a fractured vertebrae suffered when he crashed in practice for this weekend’s Indianapolis 500.

The Briton, who had qualified 25th for Sunday’s race, was hit from behind by Katherine Legge as the cars ahead bunched up at Turn 1 during Monday’s practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Legge’s front-left tyre rear-ended Wilson’s rear-right corner, causing both of them to hit the wall hard with Wilson head-on into the SAFER barrier.

He was immediately attended to by the medical team and gave fans a thumbs up as he was loaded into the ambulance before being transported on to a local hospital.

There it was revealed the 33-year-old had suffered a fractured vertebrae that would need to be stabilised during surgery.

A statement from his team read: “After sustaining a fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae, Stefan Wilson stayed overnight at the IU Health Methodist Hospital for further evaluation.

“Following further observations and tests on Tuesday, it was determined by the hospital’s medical staff that Wilson will require surgery to stabilise the fractured area. That surgery will take place on Wednesday.”

The crash occurred in the last hour of Monday’s running as the drivers were all practicing racing in the draft.

Legge escaped without injury, the 42-year-old saying: “What happened, happened, whether it’s from my angle or anybody else’s angle.

“The cars in front of me checked up, and I lifted two downshifts and hit the brakes, and it was still too much speed going into One.”

Wilson will be replaced by Graham Rahal in the No.24 Cusick and Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet after the 34-year-old failed to qualifying for the prestigious race.

Rahal was bumped from the Indy 500 field on Sunday by his own Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team-mate Jack Harvey.

“We’re excited to put Graham in the car, it’s a tough deal and Stefan is getting more evaluation today in hospital,” said team owner Dennis Reinbold.

“There were a lot of hurdles involved. There were so many conflicts, but it’s the Indy 500 and people come together to make this event so special.”

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Wilson’s crash comes three months shy of the eight-year anniversary of his brother Justin Wilson’s passing.

The former F1 driver died as a result of head injuries suffered at the 2015 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway where he was struck in the head by debris from a crashed car.