LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: James Hinchcliffe is lucky to have survived his horrific crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 18. Image: YouTube
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe is in intensive care following a crash during practice for the Indianapolis 500 on Monday (May 18).
Hinchcliffe had surgery and was in stable condition after injuring his upper left thigh when he crashed into a barrier at high speed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, governing body INDYCAR said.
Sam Schmidt, owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for whom Hinchliffe drives, said: "Obviously we're relieved that James is awake and out of surgery.
"That's the most important thing on our minds right now and we will do absolutely everything required to ensure a complete recovery."
Hinchliffe completed a lap at an average speed of more than 359km/h when the crash occurred. He is the fifth driver to crash during practice for Sunday's race (May 24), but the first to be injured.
Hinchcliffe posted a picture after his surgery on his Instagram account with a caption: "Always nice knowing after a tough day at the office I've still got lots to smile about."
VIDEO: James Hindchcliffe's huge crash
Hinchcliffe, eighth in the 2015 IndyCar championship, has competed in the 500 four times previously, with a best placing of sixth.
Click on the gif below to view the clip
AERO KITS TO BLAME?
Three huge crashes in Indianapolis 500 practice earlier in May 2015 have raised one big question: Are the new oval aero kits, along with speeds that have topped 370km/h, the cause?
IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves said: "We're still learning, to be honest. There are so many little details with the new aero kit that we're just starting now to go through that phase.
"My team mates are going through that phase as well and we're just starting."
VIDEO: Josef Newgarden's crash
VIDEO: Helio Castroneves' crash
VIDEO: Pippa Mann's IndyCar crash