​Safety team readies to rescue IndyCar racers in case of emergency

NEWTON, Iowa – May 18th, 2015; Indy 500 practice. A day IndyCar driver James Hinchliffe will never forget.

“I remember the day, yeah; for sure. Started the day like any other practice day. Next thing I knew, there was a bunch of bright lights and a tube down my throat," Hinchcliffe said.

Hinchcliffe was flying around the track at 223 miles per hour when his suspension failed. He slammed into the wall. A steel rod from the car impaled him. He was pinned and losing massive amounts of blood.

“At the rate I was losing blood, if they’d gotten me into the OR any later, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have made it,” Hinchcliffe said.

The Holmatro Safety crew raced to Hinchcliffe’s rescue and is credited with his survival.

“We try to give our drivers an opportunity to survive a very significant crash,” said crew member Tim Baughman.

The Holmatro Safety Team consists of doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters who travel the IndyCar circuit prepared to act should disaster strike.

“We have to learn about the cars, we know the drivers, we know the equipment, and we train on that week after week from event to event,” Baughman said.

The Holmatro Safety Team is already preparing for the August 26 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.

“The doctors and the nurses reach out to trauma centers at St. Louis and talk to those trauma teams, talk to the medical assets we have at the race track in the infield care center,” Baughman said.

A coordinated effort to save drivers’ lives.

“We’re so fortunate in the Verizon IndyCar Series to have someone like the Holmatro Safety Team that travels with us race to race,” Hinchcliffe said.

Two years after they helped save James Hinchcliffe's life, he finds piece of mind behind the wheel knowing this team has back at the track.

“The experience they have is absolutely invaluable. For us, knowing that we’ve got that kind of system that we can lean on gives us a lot more comfort when we’re out there doing 200 miles per hour inches away from each other,” Hinchcliffe said.

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