NEWTON, Iowa. Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Joseph Newgarden was airlifted for further investigation into a possible head injury as he fell and suffered an abrasion after Sunday’s race at Iowa Speedway.
Dr. Geoffrey Billows, the outgoing medical director of IndyCar, said Newgarden was communicating after he passed out and hit his head shortly after the checkered flag. Team Penske crashed while leading on lap 231 in pursuit of his second consecutive win on the 0.894-mile oval.
Newgarden fell into a motorhome parking lot where racers stop on race weekends, according to observers.
“We just want to send him downtown just for further examination because we don’t have the ability to get better imaging or radiographs,” Dr. Billows told reporters at Iowa Speedway Medical Center. But he’s awake and talking to us.
Dr. Billows said that Newgarden had been tested since a previous accident and Newgarden was airlifted due to the distance to Des Moines by land (45 minutes not due to injury). pic.twitter.com/hVokdXsY5j
— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) July 24, 2022
Dr. Billows said Newgarden was flown by helicopter due to concerns that the 45-minute ground transportation to Mercy One Des Moines Medical Center in downtown Des Moines would be delayed due to traffic after the race and Blake Shelton’s concert at the track.
Newgarden was airlifted “only because it’s so far from Des Moines,” said Billows, who stressed that the helicopter flight was a precaution. “It’s a 45 minute ride and we’ve got all this concert traffic and stuff, we were afraid it would be delayed and the helicopter was here.”
After Newgarden lost consciousness, an ambulance was called to the parking lot. He was in the medical center for about 30 minutes before he was loaded onto a helicopter on a stretcher.
Newgarden has already been examined at a care center after the accident. and was interviewed by NBC Sports. and other media.
“That’s what’s confusing,” said Dr. Billows. “He crashed, he was examined here after the accident, and he was fine. We actually went and talked to him afterwards. And then apparently after (we) talked to him, he got out of his tractor and passed out, or fell down, or something like that, and hit his head.
Newgarden left the track in a helicopter.
Again, I want to emphasize that Dr. Billows told us that this is used for proximity/traffic issues. pic.twitter.com/5qCsxkWvCD
— Nathan Brown (@By_NathanBrown) July 24, 2022
“We just felt like an unnecessary precaution, we wanted to make sure he didn’t have any kind of head injury.”
Dr. Billows said Newgarden “looked normal” at the time of his assessment of the crash, but that the crash registered enough impact that IndyCar planned to reassess the driver on Thursday “due to the G level on the accelerometer.”
Over the next two weekends, IndyCar will race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee.
After dominating all day, Josef Newgarden is out of the race.
Look what happened to the winner of Saturday’s race in Iowa. #INDICAR
— INDICAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) July 24, 2022
Newgarden led the race with 148 of 300 laps and was poised to take the points lead with his second straight win and fifth of the season.
Outside of a care center after the crash, Newgarden told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns that the hit “was definitely a bit of a shot.” According to Team Chevy, his car lost traction at Turn 4 due to apparent suspension failure.
“I want to cry,” Newgarden told Burns. “I feel so sad for my team. I do not know what happened. It was a good run. It’s only one race, but I feel terrible for us. The guys from Chevy and Hitachi did a great job. Something went wrong there.
“Up to this point, everything was fine with me. I did have a vibration at the beginning of the segment, which is not abnormal. Tire balance is constantly changing. It’s possible that we had a mismatched set or something like that. There was nothing diabolical about it. In fact, everything felt fine. It was completely unexpected when it happened. It took me by surprise. I didn’t know what happened until I was in the wall.”
In a further interview, Newgarden told other reporters that the hit “definitely rocked me. It shook me a little, but I’m fine. We have great safety at IndyCar and the car is holding up well. So it wasn’t all that bad, but it’s never nice to hit a wall in a flat chat. We’ll pick up the pieces and move on.”
Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin, who hosts a YouTube show with Newgarden, visited the relief center shortly before Newgarden was moved.
Thinking about my bus brother right now 💛 @josefnewgarden
— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin93) July 24, 2022
McLaughlin tweeted supporting his teammate Penske after the race.
IndyCar Officials released a statement later Sunday evening: “After the incident at Iowa Speedway, Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden was examined and released from the infield center.
“After completing the race, he fell down and returned to the infield. He is conscious and conscious and has been taken to a local hospital for further examination.”
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