Wilson out of Indy 500 after crash, Rahal named replacement

May 22, 2023; Speedway, Indiana, USA;Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Katherine Legge (44) and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Stefan Wilson (24) crash in the first turn Monday, May 22, 2023, during practice ahead of the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John Chilton-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Britain’s Stefan Wilson, younger brother of the late F1 and IndyCar driver Justin, will miss Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 after injuring his back in a heavy crash on Monday.

Wilson went into the barrier after his car was hit from behind in afternoon practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by compatriot Katherine Legge.

The 33-year-old’s Dreyer & Reinbold team said he had suffered a fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae.

“Based on this type of injury, Wilson will not be allowed to compete in this Sunday’s 107th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race,” the team added.

Wilson would have been starting his fifth Indianapolis 500. His brother made eight appearances but died after being hit on the helmet by debris in an IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway in 2015.

Graham Rahal was later named the replacement driver for Wilson.

Rahal, who was eliminated from the race on Sunday by his own Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team mate Jack Harvey, will compete in his 16th Indianapolis 500.

The 34-year-old, son of the 1986 Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal, finished third in 2011 and 2020 and fifth in 2015.

“We have known Graham for over a decade as he drove our car in 2010 at Iowa Speedway,” said Dreyer & Reinbold team owner Dennis Reinbold.

“He suffered through a tough weekend here, but we believe Graham can perform very well this Sunday.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis)

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