SAO PAULO (AP) – Doctors ordered IndyCar points leader Helio Castroneves to skip a stock car event in Brazil after he crashed hard in practice.
Castroneves wasn’t seriously injured when the brakes on his car malfunctioned and he crashed into a tire barrier on Friday, but doctors said Saturday that the three-time Indy 500 winner was still too sore to endure the street-circuit race in the city of Ribeirao Preto on Sunday.
“Clinically he is doing very well,” Dr. Dino Altmann said. “But he is not really physically fit to race a stock car in this street race. It would be really painful for him going through the bumps here of the track here. It’s not worth it.”
Castroneves sustained cuts to his shins and had pain in his neck after the head-on crash at the end of a long straight on the temporary street circuit. He left the car on his own but was put in an ambulance while still at the track after reporting the back and neck pain.
“I was conscious at all times but I was a bit worried because of the neck pain,” the Brazilian driver said. “But thankfully tests showed no serious injuries. My ribs are still sore. It would be painful just to buckle the seat belt.”
Seeking his first IndyCar title, Castroneves has a 31-point lead over Scott Dixon. The next IndyCar race is Aug. 25 in Sonoma, Calif.
Castroneves said he talked to his IndyCar team, Penske, and was advised to talk to Brazilian doctors before deciding whether to race on Sunday.
“I don’t want to race just to race,” he said. “I would only race if I could be competitive.”
Castroneves had already raced in the main Brazilian stock car series last year while on break from IndyCar. Former Formula One and IndyCar driver Rubens Barrichello is also racing in the series.
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