INDIANAPOLIS — Unfortunately, it was announced on Monday night that Stefan Wilson won’t be able to participate in Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network).
Following his incident during Monday’s practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Katherine Legge, Wilson was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital for further tests. It was then that it was disclosed that Wilson suffered a fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae and will stay overnight at the hospital for further tests and observation.
Based on this type of injury, Wilson will not be allowed to compete in this Sunday’s 107th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
So, many are now wondering, what happens next? We now know.
Graham Rahal will sub for Wilson in Sunday’s race.
Rahal, son of the 1986 Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal, will compete in his 16th Indianapolis 500 after placing third twice (2011 and 2020) and fifth (2015). The Ohio native attempted to qualify in this year’s 500 Mile Race, but he was bumped from the 33-car field late on Sunday afternoon.
Rahal is a six-time NTT IndyCar Series race winner and also captured the 2011 Rolex 24 Sports Car Classic at Daytona. Graham drove for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at Iowa Speedway in 2010 to ninth place. Rahal’s partners — Fifth Third Bank and United Rentals – will also join the No. 24 car.
The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team also qualified the No. 23 DreyerReinbold.com Chevy with driver Ryan Hunter-Reay in the 18th spot last Saturday with an average speed of 232.133 m.p.h.
“We are very sad that Stefan was injured Monday and now is unable to compete this Sunday in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevrolet,” said Dennis Reinbold, DRR team owner. “Stefan put so much effort into this race that it is just heartbreaking for this to have happened.” “However, we are announcing that Graham Rahal will now drive the No. 24 car this Sunday. We have known Graham for over a decade as he drove our car in 2010 at Iowa Speedway. He suffered through a tough weekend here, but we believe Graham can perform very well this Sunday.
“And I want to thank Bobby Rahal and his entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan team for granting us the opportunity to have Graham join us this week. We also want to thank everyone in the IndyCar Series garage area for offering their assistance after Stefan’s unfortunate incident on Monday. So many people came to us and asked if we needed anything yesterday. It shows the camaraderie within the NTT IndyCar Series. We are anxious to get Graham on the track now in the No. 24 machine.”
“First and foremost, the only thing that matters is that Stefan is doing well considering the circumstances,” said Don Cusick, Founder & CEO of Cusick Motorsports. “We are completely gutted for Stefan and now will miss his favorite racing event, the legendary Indy 500. We wouldn’t be here without him, and we are committed to supporting him every step on the way to recovery and beyond. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and our partners have been nothing but supportive and I couldn’t be more thankful. I am happy that we could fill the seat of the No. 24 DRR/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevy with a quality replacement in Graham Rahal. Graham knows the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval very well and we wish him the best this Sunday in the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“I’ll admit it was a very tough weekend for me and the United Rentals/Fifth Third Bank/RLL team,” said Rahal. “We tried everything, and we just didn’t have the speed. I’m very sad that Stefan was injured in practice on Monday. I wish him a quick recovery. I want to thank Dennis and Don for giving me this opportunity in the No. 24 car. I’m anxious to work with the team and prepare for the greatest race in the world, the Indianapolis 500.”
The DRR/Cusick Motorsports team is currently preparing the backup Dallara chassis for Rahal and Graham is scheduled to drive the No. 24 this Friday in the two-hour practice session as part of the famed “Carb Day” activities.