Fittipaldi Sidelined 8 Weeks


Christian Fittipaldi, knocked unconscious in a crash during testing at Gateway International Raceway, remained in a St. Louis hospital Tuesday and will be sidelined for at least eight weeks.

The 28-year-old Brazilian hit the wall in turn one on the Madison, Ill., oval on Monday and was unconscious between five and 10 minutes. He regained consciousness while being transported to a local hospital and was then airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital.

Preliminary tests on Tuesday indicated that the nephew of longtime racing star Emerson Fittipaldi has a subdural hematoma a collection of blood on the left side of his head, according to Dr. Jaimie Henderson, assistant professor of neurosurgery at the hospital.

"The hematoma is very small and not causing any pressure on the brain at this time, and that is not expected to change," Henderson said.

Once the hematoma is stabilized, Fittipaldi is expected to be transported to Miami, where he lives. Henderson said that could be as early as Wednesday.

Dr. Steve Olvey, CART director of medical affairs, said the earliest return for Fittipaldi to his Champ Car would be eight weeks, meaning he would miss five races, beginning with Sunday's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit.

Newman-Haas Racing announced Tuesday that Roberto Moreno would replace Fittipaldi for the Detroit event. Moreno, also from Brazil, has made a specialty of subbing for injured drivers in recent years. He has driven the last eight CART races for PacWest Motorsports Group while Mark Blundell recuperated from a broken collarbone. Blundell is scheduled to return to his car this week.

It is the third time Moreno has replaced Fittipaldi in the Newman-Haas car. Fittipaldi missed six events in 1997 after breaking his leg in a crash in Australia, then missed a race last year in Milwaukee after suffering a concussion in a crash during practice.

Fittipaldi was on the way to the best season of his five-year CART career. He won his first pole at Rio de Janeiro in May, earned his first CART victory on July 11 in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and was fourth in the season standings. He trails series leader Juan Montoya by 28 points.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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