The clock is ticking for IndyCar Series officials to give injured Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe medical clearance to participate in this month’s Indianapolis 500, with qualifying set to take place this weekend.

The Canadian driver briefly lost consciousness and was subsequently diagnosed with concussion during last weekend’s inaugural race on the Indianapolis road course after being struck in the head by debris. It is not clear how he suffered his injuries.

“Luckily I have a massive nose and it took brunt of the impact!” he wrote on his Twitter feed “In all seriousness, huge thanks to track safety team, Indycar medical and IU Health staff for the excellent care. Hope to be back in the buggy soon.”

Hinchcliffe has been forced to sit out of this week’s practice sessions, where stand-in driver EJ Viso took the #27 machine to the fastest overall time in the third practice session.

While he has been given clearance to resume light training, IndyCar medical officials are yet to confirm when he will be cleared to get back behind the wheel.

Should he not gain clearance ahead of this weekend, Viso will continue behind the wheel to attempt to qualify the car for the following weekend’s 500-mile race. Hinchcliffe could technically get helicoptered into the seat thereafter – a highly contentious decision in itself – but with his lack of track time, his weekend would be seriously compromised anyway.

Image via ESPN

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Geoff Burke

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