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Rosenqvist hospitalized after crash into wall at Belle Isle

Felix Rosenqvist races during the first race of the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto racing doubleheader on Belle Isle in Detroit Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Felix Rosenqvist races during the first race of the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto racing doubleheader on Belle Isle in Detroit Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – Felix Rosenqvist was hospitalized overnight following a wall-smashing crash Saturday early in the IndyCar race on Belle Isle.

Arrow McLaren SP said Oliver Askew will replace Rosenqvist in Sunday's race. Askew made 12 starts for the team last year but was replaced by Rosenqvist after the season.

The throttle appeared to stick in Rosenqvist's car as he entered the sixth turn at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. With no way to stop or slow his car, the Swede slammed into a tire barrier with enough force to move the retaining wall.

Some of the tires even went over the wall and Rosenqvist’s car was stuck nose-up at a nearly 45-degree angle jammed into the scattered tire barrier. He seemed to struggle to catch his breath, and IndyCar’s safety team placed Rosenqvist in a neck brace while extricating him.

He was taken to DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital after he was seen in the trackside medical center. “for advanced imaging and evaluation by the trauma and neurological services," said Dr. Geoffery Billows, the IndyCar medical director.

Bud Denker, President of the Penske Corp. and head of the Detroit Grand Prix, was out on the track helping repair the wall and said Rosenqvist went through six rows of tires on impact.

Pato O'Ward, his teammate at Arrow McLaren SP, watched the replay of the crash and speculated it had to be a stuck throttle.

“He popped off the brake. I mean, if you see the replays, you hear it out, the engine just goes flat out,” O'Ward said. “I know him. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t him doing that with his own throttle.”

Marcus Ericsson, a fellow Swede and the race winner, was asking for updates on Rosenqvist after his victory.

“I hear he’s OK after that nasty crash,” Ericsson said. “He's a good friend of mine. I’m glad to hear that and I hope that’s still the case.”

Ericsson also noted it was a difficult day as Denmark player Christian Eriksen collapsed during the European Championship match between Denmark and Finland.

“I heard about that incident in the Euros, that was very scary when we had the news just before the race,” Ericsson said. “Then obviously Felix had a very nasty crash. I hope and I think that I brought some joy to at least Sweden with this win.”

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