Graham Rahal to replace injured Stefan Wilson in Indy 500

Graham Rahal will be the substitute driver for the injured Stefan Wilson in Cusick Motorsports’ entry in the Indianapolis 500.

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

In a deal announced on Tuesday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Rahal will take over driving duties in the car that Wilson had qualified 25th for this Sunday’s race.

Rahal was bumped from the Indy 500 field on Sunday by his own Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team-mate Jack Harvey. But Wilson’s injury opened the door for him to rejoin the grid, despite the fact that Cusick/Dreyer & Reinbold runs Chevrolet engines when Rahal’s family team runs Hondas.

“We’re excited to put Graham in the car, it’s a tough deal and Stefan is getting more evaluation today in hospital,” said team owner Dennis Reinbold. “There were a lot of hurdles involved. There were so many conflicts, but it’s the Indy 500 and people come together to make this event so special.”

Rahal said: “First off, I feel for Stef, to see what happened to him is never good. I know the emotional roller coaster he is on right now, and the Wilson family has certainly had a very strong impact in my life.

“When I got the call from Dennis yesterday afternoon, I felt compelled to be here to help and fill in. Clearly, this is Stef’s ride, it’s his seat, so it’s an honour to receive this call.”

Katherine Legge, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Stefan Wilson, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, crash

Katherine Legge, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Stefan Wilson, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, crash

Photo by: NBC

Wilson fractured a vertebra during his brutal high-speed crash in practice on Monday. His car was hit from behind by Katherine Legge’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing machine after cars ahead of them stacked up at Turn 1.

Both cars spun and subsequently hit the wall at differing angles. While Legge’s hit the wall side-on, and she was unhurt, Wilson’s struck the SAFER barrier head-on.

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The 33-year-old was taken to the medical centre and then transported on to a local hospital for advanced imaging, where a fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae was diagnosed.

The T12 bears the most weight of that region of the spine, and while it is the strongest of those bones it is also the most susceptible to stress-related injury.

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