IndyCar Series Driver Justin Wilson Dies; Succumbs To Head Injury From Pocono Crash

(Press Release from INDYCAR)

Justin Wilson (Photo: INDYCAR Series)

Justin Wilson (Photo: INDYCAR Series)

INDYCAR announced that driver Justin Wilson, who enjoyed success in multiple motorsports series during a two-decade professional career, died today from a head injury sustained in the Verizon IndyCar Series race Aug. 23 at Pocono Raceway. He was 37.

“This is a monumentally sad day for INDYCAR and the motorsports community as a whole,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Justin’s elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility – which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock. As we know, the racing industry is one big family, and our efforts moving forward will be focused on rallying around Justin’s family to ensure they get the support they need during this unbelievably difficult time.”

Wilson was struck by debris from a single-car crash on Lap 180 of the 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile triangular oval. Wilson was attended to by the Holmatro Safety Team and airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pa.

A native of Sheffield, England, Wilson recorded seven career Indy car victories – the most recent in 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway – and eight pole starts in 174 races. He totaled 711 career laps led, including two in the Aug. 23 race. He competed in Formula One in 2003 with Minardi and Jaguar, and his initial F1 points were scored that year in the U.S. Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He co-drove a Michael Shank Racing sports car entry to the overall victory in the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012.

Wilson, a road cycling and mountain biking enthusiast, also was an ambassador for dyslexia, a learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading that challenged him as a youth. He often would speak to groups at the racetrack and visit schools near INDYCAR race venues.

Wilson is survived by his wife, Julia, and two daughters. His younger brother Stefan is an accomplished race car driver who has competed in the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights. Funeral arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, a fund has been set up for Wilson children. Donations may be sent to: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o INDYCAR, 4551 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222.


  1. Sorry to hear of this tragedy, sounds like a freak thing being hit by debris…surprised it doesn’t happen more often to open cockpit drivers.

  2. It certainly came off as freak accident watching it live on TV. They original crash appeared to be over and they changed the shot to show the reaction of Sage Karam’s crew after he had wrecked out of lead. Then when they switched back to the track you could see Wilson’s car heading toward the inside wall. It even took the TV commentators a while to figure out what had happened.

  3. Indy cars and formula 1 have come a long way since sennas death but they need to go further in protecting the drivers head . It can be done we are smarter then this

  4. Justin was a class act, this is a really sad day. Maybe it’s time to close the cockpits.

  5. Crazy bad freak circumstances… He was several seconds behind Sage’s crash. Most of it was over, with debris everywhere. About the first foot or so of carbon fiber nose cone from Sage’s car was still bouncing. I think if someone tried to hit him in the head with something, it would have been a one in a million chance of success, yet a randomly bouncing part did.

    Like JMB said above, even with many camera angles, I’m sure with producers watching them all in the truck, it still took quite a while to see what had actually happened.

    Indy Car is one of the few series that uses a specially trained traveling crash response team. The Holmatro team includes people specifically trained how to best extricate drivers from Indy Cars, as well as full-on trauma ER doctors who rush right to the scene of the wreck. They don’t use local fire / EMS or track employees. The fact that they couldn’t save him speaks a lot about the severity of the injury.

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