Houston: Four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti will remain in Houston hospital for several more days while he recovers from a fractured spine following a frightening crash on Sunday, Chip Ganassi Racing said on Monday.
The Scotsman was seriously injured in a flying wreck in Sunday`s Houston race, suffering two broken vertebrae in his spine, a concussion, a broken right ankle and two cracked ribs.
The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner underwent surgery on his ankle Sunday night. He is expected to have another operation on the ankle but doctors said his spinal injuries would not require surgery.
"Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes," Franchitti said Monday. "They mean a lot to me. I would also like to send my best to all the fans involved in the accident and hope that everyone is all right."
An IndyCar official and 13 spectators were also hurt by flying debris from the three-vehicle smash but none seriously. Two of the spectators were taken to hospital while 11 were treated at the scene and released.
IndyCar officials said they were probing the crash to see how they could make the races safer for the drivers and spectators.
"Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by yesterday`s accident," IndyCar said in a statement.
"Thank you to the people of Houston for their support of the Grand Prix and their concern for Dario Franchitti, the fans and race personnel.”
"IndyCar is thoroughly reviewing the incident. Reducing the risks that are associated with racing is one of our highest priorities and receives our constant and on-going focus."
Franchitti`s car went airborn Sunday after colliding with Takuma Sato and slammed into the safety fencing before coming to a halt in the middle of the street circuit track.
He was stretchered off the track and taken by ambulance to the nearby hospital.
The three-car smash happened in turn five of the track`s 10 turns and also involved Japan`s Sato and E.J. Viso of Venezuela, but they were both able to exit their cars and walk away.
Race officials were forced to postpone Friday`s qualifying because of problems with the 2.57 kilometre (1.6 mile) temporary circuit which included a troublesome bump in turn one.
Qualifying finally got underway Saturday morning, but not before track crews worked overnight and into the morning grinding the area in turn one to try to make it safe for the drivers.