Robert Wickens, James Hinchcliffe, and Sam Schmidt on Racing and Recovery

Three drivers. Nearly killed competing in the sport they love. Our Marshall Pruett spoke with them about injury, and what happens next.

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Marshall Pruett

Three drivers. Nearly killed competing in the sport they love. Joined together today at the same IndyCar Series team. Meet Robert Wickens, James Hinchcliffe, and Sam Schmidt in their shared journey of racing and recovery.

Schmidt was a promising racer in the Indy Racing League (IRL) in the late 1990s, who won at the Las Vegas speedway in 1999. Before the 2000 season was underway, Schmidt had a crash at the Walt Disney World Speedway, which rendered him a quadriplegic. He wasn't done racing, though. The next year, he formed Sam Schmidt Motorsports, entered IRL, and soon found huge success in Indy Lights, helping seven drivers bring home championships between 2004 and 2013. In 2011, Sam Schmidt Motorsports mounted its first full-season effort in the IndyCar series.

The team, eventually renamed Schmidt Peterson Motorsports after Ric Peterson became a principal, hired Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe in 2015 (the team is now called Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports). Hinch nearly lost his life in a bad crash practicing for the Indy 500 that year, but was able to make a full recovery. The next year, he took pole position for the 500.

Hinch's childhood friend and fellow countryman Robert Wickens joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsport as an IndyCar rookie last year. He stunned on his debut at St. Petersburg, taking pole and nearly winning the race before being punted by Alexander Rossi with just two laps to go. He managed 3rd place at the Indy 500 and had a number of strong finishes throughout the season. At Pocono, an incident between him and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the early stages of the race sent him flying into a catch fence. He suffered a spinal cord injury in the crash, and he's still fighting to regain the use of his legs so he can race once again.

Our Marshall Pruett sat down with the three racers to talk about racing and the recovery process.

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