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James Hinchcliffe cleared to drive by INDYCAR after suffering concussion

May 15, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

Hinchcliffe Getty Images

The bad news today regarding the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda had a mechanical issue during Indianapolis 500 practice – in the words of Andretti Autosport fill-in driver EJ Viso, “the engine blew up.”

The good news is that its usual driver, James Hinchcliffe, is now cleared to drive after he suffered a concussion on Saturday in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He progressed throughout the week and was re-evaluated today.

The official medical update from INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger is that Hinchcliffe has been cleared to resume racing after being re-evaluated today & passing ImPACT test.

Here’s a statement from Hinchcliffe released by the team:

“It goes without saying, I’m thrilled to be back in the United Fiber & Data car. It’s been a long couple of days watching everyone practice, but obviously getting healthy was the number one goal. I really want to thank everyone at INDYCAR Safety, INDYCAR Medical and IU Health for their great care. Also, to Jim Leo with PitFit Training for helping with the rehabilitation, and of course a big thanks to E.J. (Viso) and the team for all the hard work during practice. The car looks fast and I can’t wait to get out there and get up to speed.”

And here was Hinch’s tweet of thanks:

Viso has filled in during the week, totaling 250 laps, and ended Tuesday’s truncated day of practice fastest.

Viso was hoping to get some laps back in later Thursday if the team put a new engine in the No. 27 car, and that could still be possible.

Alternatively, and more likely, the team could make the change back to prep the No. 27 for Hinchcliffe.

Viso said he had no idea as to whether the team would be able to put together a sixth car for him, and while backup chassis are available, Andretti’s already stretched with five IndyCars this month.

Plus, an engine lease would be Honda’s 19th, something Honda has not signed off on beyond the 18 they already have allotted this month.

Put this way – Viso has done the job he’s been asked to do, and it’s doubtful we’ll see a sixth car emerge from the stable to see him return to the track.

  1. techmeister1 - May 15, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    I hope Hinch is 100%. Head injuries are no joke.

  2. midtec2005 - May 15, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Maybe another team can scrape a car together for him. Then at least we’d have a bump. He’s definitely up to speed after all this practice, you’d think it’d be a no brainer.

    • midtec2005 - May 15, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      I just said him, derp. I mean Viso.

  3. testover6370 - May 15, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    I didn’t like having Viso in the field for the first few years, too many crashes often taking out other cars, but last year with Andretti he became fast, consistent, and much less crash happy. Huge turn-around and I would be happy to see him back in the field on a more regular basis. He did a great job filling in for Hinch.

  4. Jeff - May 15, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Glad the Mayer is back on track.

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