IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies

Justin Wilson, 37, died Monday, a day after he was struck in the head by a piece of debrisduring the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway, according to IndyCar.

Wilson was hit by debris from the car of rookie Sage Karam, who was leading the ABC Supply 500 when his No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet spun on its own in Turn 1 on Lap 179 of the 200-lap race Sunday. IndyCar drivers are far more susceptible to head injuries because the cockpits are open and their helmets exposed.

Wilson is the first driver since Dan Wheldon in 2011 to die in a major U.S.-based auto racing series.

He is survived by wife Julia and daughters Jane, 7, and Jessica, 5.

“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.”

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