CHAMPCAR/CART: Christian Fittipaldi Out Eight Weeks, Roberto Moreno Subs at Detroit

DETROIT (August 3, 1999) - Newman/Haas Racing driver Christian Fittipaldi, hospitalized Monday following a testing accident at Gateway International Raceway, will remain at St. Louis University Hospital tonight and could miss a...

DETROIT (August 3, 1999) - Newman/Haas Racing driver Christian Fittipaldi, hospitalized Monday following a testing accident at Gateway International Raceway, will remain at St. Louis University Hospital tonight and could miss a minimum of eight weeks due to the injury. Preliminary tests, according to Dr. Jaimie Henderson, assistant professor of neurosurgery at St. Louis University Hospital, indicated that the 28-year-old Fittipaldi sustained a subdural hematoma in the left frontal region of his head. A subdural hematoma is a collection of blood between the covering of the brain and surface of the brain, according to Henderson. Once the hematoma is stabilized, Fittipaldi will be transported home to the Miami area by air ambulance, which could be as early as Wednesday morning. He will be under the supervision of Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, and Dr. Phil Villanueva at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital and further evaluated. "The hematoma is very small and not causing any pressure on the brain at this time, and that is not expected to change," Henderson explained. "Christian is undergoing a serial of CT scans to determine that there has been no enlargement in the collection of blood. It is anticipated that there will be no enlargement, therefore, no surgery required." According to Olvey, it is anticipated that the earliest return for Fittipaldi would be eight weeks, which would encompass five FedEx Championship Series events. That would leave the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, scheduled for Sept. 26, as the possible return date for Fittipaldi, the five-year veteran who claimed his first career victory July 11 at Road America and currently ranks fourth in the FedEx Championship Series title race. Fittipaldi was rendered unconscious after his Big Kmart Ford Swift Champ Car made rear contact with the Turn 1 wall at the Gateway oval at approximately 2:30 p.m. CST (local time) Monday. He was unconscious for five to 10 minutes according to witnesses at the scene, but regained consciousness while being transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Fittipaldi was then airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital and admitted overnight to the neurological intensive care unit for testing and observation. "I don't remember the accident, but I remember everything right up until the accident," Fittipaldi said Tuesday. "I can remember everything up until the accident, including what the car was doing. The first thing that I remember after the accident is waking up in the ambulance. It may come to me later like it did after Milwaukee [last year in which he sustained a concussion]." Roberto Moreno was named Fittipaldi's replacement for Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit at The Raceway on Belle Isle. Moreno had been the substitute for PacWest Racing driver Mark Blundell, who was injured in a testing accident at Gateway in May, for the past eight races, but relinquishes the ride this weekend as Blundell is set to return. Moreno has been outstanding in his stint as a substitute, recording PPG Cup points in six of his eight starts for PacWest Racing. His top finish was fourth at Gateway and Toronto and, despite missing the first four events of the season, he ranks 11th in the FedEx Championship Series points championship. This will mark the third time that Moreno has replaced Fittipaldi for Newman/Haas due to injury. Moreno filled in for six events during the 1997 season after Fittipaldi sustained a broken right leg during the race in Surfers Paradise, Australia. Moreno scored PPG Cup points in two of those events, including a best of fifth at Detroit, and also earned the outside pole for the event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also filled in for Fittipaldi last season at Milwaukee after Fittipaldi sustained a concussion from an accident during the Friday practice session for that weekend's race. Moreno started 17th and finished 24th, retiring early in the event due to electrical problems. The Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit begins Friday with practice at 10:30 a.m. ET and will be followed by provisional qualifying at 2:30 p.m. The race, Round 13 of 20 in the FedEx Championship Series, begins 3 p.m. ET Sunday (4 p.m. ET, tape delay, ABC-TV).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi