LONG POND, Pa. — Alexander Rossi won the ABC Supply 500 on Sunday, but a horrific-looking crash overshadowed the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway.
Rossi, a native of Nevada City, Calif., got his third victory of the IndyCar season by holding off Will Power, who had won the last two races at Pocono.
The win by Rossi, however, took second status to a horrific crash during Lap 7 that sent driver Robert Wickens to the hospital.
"We had the best car today," said Rossi, who, in 2016, became the first American rookie to win the Indianapolis 500 since 1928. "It's exciting to get the win, but its tough to celebrate with what happened."
What happened was Wickens sparked the accident when he clipped the back of the car driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, sending it sideways.
Wickens' car drove over the front of Hunter-Reay's and smashed into the catch fence out of Turn 2.
His car disintegrated while doing several 360-degree spins in the air before the safety cell landed on the track.
IndyCar officials said Wickens was awake and alert when taken from the car, but was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown. He was admitted with orthopedic injuries.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace had a scary crash into the same wall when his breaks went out during the Gander Outdoor 400 on July 29.
It was a weekend of bad events leading up to and at the beginning of the 200-lap race.
On Saturday, the second practice session was canceled because of rain. This was with the drivers coming off a three-week hiatus. Being unfamiliar with the track was an issue with the drivers, who have new modifications to their cars and had not tested at Pocono.
Then, moments after the green flag started the 500-mile race, Graham Rahal misread the acceleration of cars in front of him and hit Spencer Pigot, whose car was damaged enough that it could not complete the full race.
Rahal got a penalty for avoidable contact and the first six laps were run under caution. Several drivers suggested that Power, who was the pole sitter, shared some blame for not setting the proper pace for the start.
An annoyed Power brought out speed statistics, saying he did nothing wrong.
After the race went green again, the drivers did not complete a full lap before Wickens' crash. Takuma Sato, Pietro Fittipaldi, and James Hinchcliffe also took heavy damage to their cars in the chain reaction. None of the five could continue racing.
The race was red-flagged for nearly two hours so the catch fence could be repaired.
Driver Sebastien Bourdais had contemplated not rejoining the race because he did not think the repairs to the catch fence were adequate.
"Some of these situations you can't do anything about," said Scott Dixon, who finished third. "None of us ever want to see something like that happen. It's horrible to see. This is a tight-knit family. You just hope that everyone will be OK."