INDIANAPOLIS — A day after being hospitalized following a vicious Lap 235 crash in Sunday’s Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300, Josef Newgarden has been released from MercyOne De Moines Medical Center on Monday morning.
The 24-time NTT INDYCAR Series race winner will head back home to Nashville, Tennessee to wait until his evaluation on Thursday afternoon from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Should he pass, he’s eligible to return to the seat of his No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet. Should he not, Team Penske already has a driver on standby.
That driver is Santino Ferrucci. The Connecticut native is an open wheel driver by nature but his path has taken him to the NASCAR world the last couple of years. Ferrucci was already scheduled to be in Indy this weekend to compete with Sam Hunt Racing’s No. 26 Toyota for Saturday’s Pennzoil 150 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, IMS Radio Network). Now, the potential is there for him to pull double duty.
Ferrucci has 43-career INDYCAR SERIES starts with four of these occurring at the IMS road course to where he has two top-10 finishes. His career best IndyCar finish is fourth, on four occasions, and he has made three starts in 2022, all via different teams, with two top-10 finishes. He filled in for injured Jack Harvey with Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing this past March at the Texas Motor Speedway. He finished an impressive 9th. He then hopped into Juncos Hollinger Racing’s No. 77 Dallara-Chevrolet at Belle Isle in a sub role for injured Callum Ilott. He finished 21st.
Sandwiched between that was his only scheduled start of 2022 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Now, he has a potential to replace Newgarden in what would be his potential 4th INDYCAR race in 2022 for 4 different teams.
Newgarden hopes Ferrucci isn’t needed. Nothing personal, it’s just that he’s in a fight for his 3rd series title and missing a race would almost certainly make it next to impossible to take his 2nd title in the last 4 years.
He’s won 4 times this season alone and was well on his way to a 5th on Sunday in Iowa before crashing out while leading just prior to the final round of pit stops. A win would have put him in the points lead. A crash resulted in his 5th finish outside of the top 10 as he now sits 34 points back. Missing Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix (12 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network) would all but assure Newgarden would have to push his win total to at least 6 or 7 in a year that the series is as competitive as ever.
Following his crash, the Tennessee native was checked in the infield care center and relased. While exiting his hauler after he collapsed and suffered a head abraison. As a result, they transported him via a medical helicopter to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. The reason for helicopter was due to race traffic and the hospital being 45 minutes away in Des Moines.
Reports on Sunday evening from Dr. Geoffrey Billows was that Newgarden was awake and alert and communicating. He was fine earlier but with falling, they were doing this as a precaution.
Luckily, all tests were negative in the hospital on Sunday night but as a precaution, they held him overnight for further evaluation before being re-examined by INDYCAR on Thursday.
“Josef Newgarden was involved in an incident late in Sunday’s race at Iowa Speedway, after which he was evaluated and released from the infield care center,” a statement read from Team Penske tonight.
“Following the conclusion of the race, Newgarden lost consciousness and fell, sustaining a cut on the back of his head. Due to the 45-minute drive to MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and the traffic outside the racetrack, the medical helicopter was determined to be the best mode of transportation. After being evaluated, all scans were negative.
“Newgarden will be held overnight for observation. Following IndyCar protocol, Newgarden will be evaluated by the IndyCar medical staff on Thursday.”
All tests were still clear on Monday which is why he was released all together until Thursday’s visit.