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Fittipaldi Injured in Michigan Wreck

July 28, 1996

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) _ A fiery crash on the second lap of the Marlboro 500 Sunday left driver Emerson Fittipaldi with a fractured vertebra and a partially collapsed lung.

None of Fittipaldi’s injuries was considered serious, said Dr. Steve Olvey, the Indy-car medical director, who emphasized the Brazilian driver was moving all his extremities.

``There’s no impingement on his spinal cord,″ Olvey said. ``It’s going to need to be fixed. It’s going to impact his season.″

The 49-year-old Fittipaldi was examined at the medical facility on the infield of Michigan International Speedway before being taken to Foote Hospital at nearby Jackson.

X-rays showed Fittipaldi had a fracture of the seventh cervical vertebra and partially collapsed left lung. He was transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, the regional trauma and spinal cord treatment center.

Fittipaldi had completed only one lap, and that under a caution flag, before crashing as he was coming out of the second turn.

Starter Jim Swintal deemed the field improperly aligned for a green flag start, so the first lap was run under yellow caution flag conditions. Moments after getting the green flag, Fittipaldi was attempting to pass Canadian rookie Greg Moore on the high side when his left rear clipped Moore’s right front tire.

Moore’s car didn’t appear damaged, and he remained in the race.

Fittipaldi’s car went backward into the wall, flames streaming from the car. The car slid along the wall, all the way to the third turn. However, Fittipaldi kept his car on the wall and all the other cars were able to get past without damage.

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