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Who'da Thunk It?

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  • Who'da Thunk It?

    Champ Car Driver Collides With Deer On Track

    POSTED: 7:04 am EDT August 4, 2006
    UPDATED: 7:05 am EDT August 4, 2006

    ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta needed surgery to remove a ruptured blood vessel in his head after his race car collided with a deer that wandered onto the track during a test session at Road America on Thursday.

    Da Matta was unconscious when he was airlifted to Theda Clark Memorial Hospital in Neenah after the crash, and remained unconscious as of Thursday night, Champ Car series spokesman Steve Shunck said.

    Champ Car Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Chris Pinderski said a CT scan at the hospital showed that da Matta had a subdural hematoma.

    "He was urgently taken to the operating room for surgical removal of the hematoma and is now being observed in the intensive care unit," Pinderski said.

    The RuSport team said updates concerning da Mattas condition will be released when they become available.

    The 32-year-old Da Matta has 12 career Champ Car victories - including four straight wins in his championship season of 2002, tying a series record.

    A native of Brazil, da Matta left Champ Car after winning the championship and drove for the Toyota team in the elite Formula One series in 2003 and 2004. In 28 starts, he finished a career-best sixth in three races.

    Da Matta returned to Champ Car last year to win a race at Portland and tie for 11th in the standings. He is sixth in the standings this season after finishing second in Sunday's race in San Jose, Calif.

    Da Matta began the season with Dale Coyne Racing, then moved to RuSport team at midseason after A.J. Allmendinger was fired.

    "It's great to get this result because I admit there have been some times when I wondered if it was going to happen again," da Matta said Sunday. "Now that pressure is off and I can focus on making the car better and becoming a consistent threat for podiums and top-fives the rest of the way."

    Da Matta is single and lives in Miami.

    RuSport also announced Thursday that Justin Wilson, da Matta's teammate, would not participate in the final day of Road America test on Friday.

    The Champ Car series races at Road America on Sept. 24.

    Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.
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  • #2

    I've never seen it in champ car racing until this story, but similar stories aren't unheard of in NASCAR. It seems like every other year some deer, rabbit, turtle, etc wanders onto the track at Pocono (in the mountains of Pennsylvania).

    Of course, hitting one in a 3700 pound full body stock car is a lot different than hitting one in an open-cab champ car.


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