IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies a day after being hit by debris

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Verizon IndyCar series Monday night announced the death of driver Justin Wilson, who was injured when he was hit in the head by a large piece of debris during Sunday's race at Pocono, Pa.

The Andretti Autosport car of Wilson, who enjoyed success in multiple motorsports series during a two-decade professional career, was traveling 220 mph when he was hit in the helmet by the nose cone from the car of Sage Karam, who was leading the race when he crashed with 20 laps to go.

Wilson was knocked unconscious and his car then struck the inside wall. He was attended to by the Holmatro Safety Team and airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pa., in critical condition.

Wilson died at the hospital Monday night, surrounded by family. He was 37.

The family released the following statement:

"With deep sadness, the parents of Justin Wilson, Keith and Lynne, his wife Julia, and his brother Stefan share the news that Justin passed away today after succumbing to injuries suffered during the Verizon IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 23. Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers. The family would like to thank the staff at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital,  Pocono Raceway, Andretti Autosport, and the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as the entire racing community for the amazing outpouring of support from fans around the world. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wilson Children’s Fund care of IndyCar: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o IndyCar, 4551 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, Ind. 46222."

“This is a monumentally sad day for IndyCar and the motorsports community as a whole,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Justin’s elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility, which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock."

A native of Sheffield, England, Wilson recorded seven career Indy car victories -- the most recent in 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway -- and eight pole starts in 174 races. He totaled 711 career laps led, including two in Sunday's race.

He finished second to Graham Rahal in the race at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 2.

Wilson  competed in Formula One in 2003 with Minardi and Jaguar, and his initial F1 points were scored that year in the U.S. Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

He co-drove a Michael Shank Racing sports car entry to the overall victory in the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012.

Wilson is survived by his wife, Julia, and two young daughters.


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