An airborne crash during an Indy car race in Houston has left 13 spectators injured and driver Dario Franchitti in fair condition. Franchitti was driving the car that crashed and he is apparently awake and alert at Memorial Hermann hospital where he will be held overnight. Most of the other injured parties were treated at the scene, a few were transported to the hospital. One series official was also hospitalized.
The crash happened in the final lap of the Grand Prix of Houston (pre-crash footage of the opening and Franchitti above). Japanese driver Takuma Sato's car bumped Franchitti's, launching Franchitti into the air and into the protective fencing around the track, spinning, shearing off part of a side and spewing fragments toward the grandstands. As of the latest report, crews were removing the wreckage and clearing the scene.
Jenna Fryer of Associated Press tweeted on Franchitti's status at around 6pm (ET):
Dario Franchitti has 2 fractured vertebra that will not require surgery, fracture to right ankle, and concussion. Will be held overnight.
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) October 6, 2013
Younger brother, Marino Franchitti, tweeted that he was en route to his brother:
On my way to @dariofranchitti, thanks for all the kind messages. Hope everyone in the crowd is OK, sounded awful.
— Marino Franchitti (@MFranchitti) October 6, 2013
Will Power won the race, Scott Dixon, Franchitti's teammate, coming in second, but neither celebrated. According to reports, both had to drive through the refuse from the crash and past Franchitti who was still inside the car waiting for medics.
Power reported that the scene reminded him of the Las Vegas 2011 accident when Dan Wheldon was killed and Power broke his back. "I just saw Dario's car and him sitting in it with a lot of damage, and yes, that's what it reminded me of," Power said, "I hate seeing that. We try to keep these cars on the ground."
Franchitti is closing this year having split from wife of 11 years, Ashley Judd. He is a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and holder of Indycar's top prize in 2012, 2010 and 2007.[Image and Video via YouTube.]