CUNNINGHAM OUT WITH APPENDICITIS Defending series champion Wade Cunningham is a shock last-minute scratching from this weekend's double-header Indy Pro Series meeting at St Petersburg in Florida after the 21-year-old Auckland driver was admitted...
CUNNINGHAM OUT WITH APPENDICITIS
Defending series champion Wade Cunningham is a shock last-minute scratching from this weekend's double-header Indy Pro Series meeting at St Petersburg in Florida after the 21-year-old Auckland driver was admitted to hospital this morning (NZ time) with appendicitis.
Cunningham, the former World Kart Champion and 2005 Menards Infinity Pro series champion said before going into pre-op this morning that he had been feeling unwell for the past two days and that after 'trying to man it out' on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning he attended a media briefing at lunchtime on Thursday (US time) then drove straight to the nearest hospital.
"I knew something was pretty wrong at that stage and it didn't take the doctor's long to work out what it was," he said.
These days removing the appendix is not a particularly complicated operation, Doctors using laparoscopic (or keyhole) surgery, and barring complications Cunningham is expecting to be out of hospital in time to be back at the track on Saturday (US time).
That said, it will be as a spectator not a driver. And the need for an operation could not have come at a worst time.
This weekend's meeting at St Petersburg is the first of two 'double-headers' on the 2006 Indy Pro Series calendar with not one but two-points scoring races, the first on Saturday, the second on Sunday.
Missing one race because of illness would be a bitter pill for any driver to swallow. But two in the same weekend?
"It's not good is it?" Cunningham said.
Ironically, there is also an eight week break until the fourth round of the 2006 Indy Pro Series, at the annual Indianapolis 500 meeting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late May.
With Cunningham's enforced absence there are now just two Kiwi drivers competing at the meeting, rookie Mathew Hamilton in the Indy Pro Series races on Saturday and Sunday and 2003 champion Scott Dixon in the IRL one on Sunday.