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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Timothy Pohlman, an IU Health Methodist trauma surgeon at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at IMS was James Hinchcliffe’s doctor. He remembers the chaos when the ambulance pulled up and he got inside. 24-Hour News 8’s Indy 500 contributor Laura Steele talked to Pohlman about the ride to the hospital.

Pohlman was watching the TV when he remembers hearing a Code 5 being called at the track. The code means a driver has been seriously injured.

“He was bleeding fairly badly in the back of the ambulance so we started for Methodist,” said Pohlman. “We got to the shock room fairly quickly, started transfusing him. He was on life support at this point and he was still bleeding so we went straight to the operating room.”

That’s when Pohlman said they lost Hinch’s pulse.

“My hand was on Hinch trying to feel a pulse and I lost his pulse, he still had a rhythm.”

Once in the operating room Hinch responded and Pohlman said that a lot of credit goes to Hinch.

A major artery was involved.

“He (Hinch) came as close as you can come,” said Pohlman. “We almost lost him after he started to respond in OR.

Pohlman knew it was going to be a long road to recovery.

Now, one year later Dr. Pohlman and Hinch text often. Pohlman knew the day that Hinch left the hospital he became a driver again.

“He was almost a model patient and since then we’ve become pretty good friends,” Pohlman said.

Pohlman thinks it was Hinch’s humility that got him through. However, he will tell anyone he wasn’t the only one who had a hand in the recovery.

“I had a small part. A lot of people were involved, said Pohlman.

Hinch also gave a lot of praise to his nurse Shelly Lucas. Who said he was in good spirits from the moment he opened his eyes.

“He was coming out of ICU he was awake and alert and coming to the realization of his injuries and what he had gone through. Immediately his great personality came out and good sense of humor,” said Lucas. “From the moment I met him he wanted to know what he could do to get himself better to get back into the race car.”

At Hinch’s last doctor’s visit Pohlman shared – “He comes into the office and I couldn’t get a question in edgewise. ‘Hinch you’re fine. It was a privilege and honor.'”

Pohlman shared that “It’s hard to say it (the experience) doesn’t change me.”

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Every time IndyCars race, the Holmatro safety trucks surround the track. The trucks are at the ready, in case anything happens.

May 18, 2015, the lightning speed and expertise of the crew, very well saved the life of James Hinchcliffe.

“When something like that happens, our fire control person will call yellow, yellow, yellow,” said Mike Yates the Director of Track Safety for Holmatro.

Members of the Hulmatro Safety Crew are ready for anything on race days. Since the 1960s they’ve worked to respond more quickly and efficiently to crashes and to make the sport more safe. They even have their own language that helps them communicate in code for conditions of the track.

“We have codes for driver condition as well,” said Yates.

Code 05 is a seriously injured driver, Yates shared.

Yates recalls what he saw the day that Hinchcliffe nearly died.

“Where it’s the closest to the white line down there is where the piece broke on the car, and he did just a little bit of a right hander and then drove straight into right, about where the grandstands ends. That’s when they called the code 05 pretty quick because it was obvious that he was in distress,” said Yates.

It was the first day of Indy 500 practice for 2015 and seconds after Hinchcliffe hit the wall out of turn three the crew knew they were working against the clock.

“He said himself that he felt like he was trapped but he was really hard to move,” said Yates. “We opened the car up and it got to a point, we heard the car crack a little bit, we stopped, and we tried to get him out and it still would not budge. At that point I noticed a lot of bleeding on his left hip.”

Yates said “They weren’t sure where the bleeding was coming from because the suspension went under his seat, so you couldn’t see it at all. There was no visual.”

It was there between his legs that they found a pool of blood and the team knew they had a big problem.

“When I told him that we were going to have to get him out of the car and once we started, he gave me a nod like he understood,” said Yates.

Yates remembers him saying three words, but he couldn’t repeat them.

“We started pulling him out and it was heavy, but when we got him up to the edge of the car onto our backboard. I heard a thump in the cockpit of the car like somebody had dropped a radio,” said Yates.

After he was pulled from the car they could see what was a part of the suspension. Hinchcliffe was then rushed to IU Health Methodist with surgeon Dr. Pullian.

“He got in the ambulance with us as we were leaving the Speedway, so that really saved us a lot of time. He watched what we were doing, he could see what Hinch’s injuries were and I think it gave him time to develop a plan,” Yates said.

When they saw what the injuries were they knew they were in a little bit of trouble. Yates said there was a lot of blood.

“You didn’t want to make it worse, but you had to try to make it better. We packed a lot of packing in the holes, and kind of put a compression diaper with a sheet around his belly and tried to pull it as tightly as we could to try, just to slow the bleeding down as best we could,” Yates said.

Yates and Dr. Pohlman at the time weren’t really sure whether or not he was going to survive. Pohlman said at one time they lost Hinch’s pulse on the way to the ER, but by the time they got to the hospital they were getting a little less responsive.

“You start thinking about it, and these guys are friends of ours. We travel with them all the time, shared Yates. There’s a bond there that makes it kind of personal when you’re at the car there.”

Yates said Hinch’s accident was like the perfect storm because for the suspension part to take the path it took it lined up perfectly. An inch could have cost Hinch his life.

There is some good that comes out of this. Yates said it will make them better in other situations like this. He said that IMS has absolutely the best system developed.

“It’s amazing now, I mean, a year later and the guy’s probably in better shape now, beefier now than he was back then. He’s still from Canada though,” laughed Yates.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe was close to dying after a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A special broadcast by WISH-TV focused on Hinchcliffe’s recovery.Click here to watch the reports.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “By the time he was 12, he was going to be an IndyCar driver and there was no doubt in his mind whatsoever that he was going to make it,” said Jeremy Hinchcliffe.

James Hinchcliffe’s father Jeremy has watched as his son’s career has blossomed at every level. And now, he gets to watch him compete in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing from the storied pole position.

“For James to go out on the last run of the day for the last four laps and to grab the pole by three one hundredths of a second was very, very special. I thought I was going to pass out,” said Jeremy.

Jeremy witnessed firsthand his son winning his first ever pole position for the 100th running of the Indy 500. Through the cheers and hugs, the two shared a moment that many didn’t think would be possible one year ago.

“I was with my wife, Arlene, down in Turks and Cacos and I got a text message from a friend in Charlotte saying ‘How’s James?’ So I texted back saying, ‘Why? What Happened?’ And he was the one who said he’s in the wall in turn three,” Jeremy Hinchcliffe said.

In the wall, knocked unconscious with a piece of suspension piercing his leg, James’ wreck left him fighting for his life. IndyCar sent a plane to Jeremy and Arlene, allowing them to get to their son in Indianapolis.

“By that point, clearly James’ injuries were way more serious than we understood,” Jeremy Hinchcliffe said.

22 pints of blood later, doctors told his parents that James would recover –  but getting back on the track would be a long process.

“Him not getting into the race car was just not even on the agenda,” Jeremy Hinchcliffe said. “He was going to be back in a car without any doubt. The only question was how soon.”

The end of September came and James got back into a car – giving him eight months to prepare for the Indy 500.

“(The) remarkable thing was that there were no fractures, and there were no damaged organs. So, the really severe danger was the massive blood loss,” Jeremy Hinchcliffe said.

Come Sunday, James will have the chance to win the Indy 500 – making one of the greatest comebacks in the sport. But Jeremy knows a win won’t come easy.

“But then, then there (are) 500 miles to run, and everything is going to have to be absolutely perfect with a lot of luck to pull this one off.”

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It was the Monday practice before the Indy 500 last year that James Hinchcliffe’s number five car crashed and nearly killed him.

Now, one year later, Hinch is practicing from the pole position.

The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver edged out Josef Newgarden by a narrow six tenths of a second for the pole position. But even Newgarden can’t help but be happy for his competitor.

“It’s hard not to be disappointed with second. But at the same time, I don’t know how we can be not satisfied with that. It was a great day. And super happy for Hinch. He did a great job,” said Josef Newgarden.

“Hinch! Hinch deserves it, man. After what he went through last year. I know what it’s like to come back from a really tough injury so he came back tougher, stronger than ever. And it’s going to be a very competitive race,” said Will Power.

All hope for a competitive Indy 500, and Hinch wants to make sure his car runs its best so he can make the most of his pole position.

Hinch will have one more opportunity before the race to get a feel for the track on Carb Day.

Then come Sunday, the Canadian will attempt to cap off a comeback for the ages: trying to win the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on a track that nearly killed him the year before.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – All James Hinchcliffe wanted was a good car.

Turns out, he’ll have the best view in this year’s Indianapolis 500 field.

The Canadian driver, who started second in the race in 2012 and 2014, edged out American Josef Newgarden on the final qualifying attempt of the weekend to claim his first IndyCar pole. Hinchcliffe posted a four-lap average of 230.760 mph, barely ahead of Newgarden, who came in at 230.700.

“It was a great run. The car was stellar,” Hinchcliffe said after winning the fourth-closest pole contest in the race’s 100-year history. “We have the best seat in the house for the biggest race in history.”

Hinchcliffe, who drives for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, turned one of the most chaotic qualifying weekends in recent memory into one of the most heartwarming stories of the year.

A year ago, Hinchcliffe watched the 500 from a hospital bed after a broken suspension part punctured him in the left leg. The injury required life-saving surgery and forced one of the series’ most popular drivers to miss the season’s final 11 races as he fought his way back to racing.

But Hinchcliffe is only part of an incredible story.

Team owner Sam Schmidt, like Hinchcliffe, was a popular IndyCar driver when he was seriously injured in a 2000 crash at Walt Disney World, which rendered Schmidt a quadriplegic. The next year, Schmidt started an Indy Lights team and now he has expanded what was once a low-budget team into a real contender by claiming three of the top 10 spots in this year’s 33-car starting field

Russia’s Mikhail Aleshin and Spain’s Oriol Servia, Schmidt’s other drivers, qualified seventh and 10th.

“It was an incredible day,” Schmidt said, noting he had won the 2011 Indy pole with Alex Tagliani exactly five years earlier. “I didn’t think anything would get better than five years ago. I had three cars in the top then and to come out here today…”

Newgarden will start second with Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 race winner, on the outside of the first row.

Roger Penske’s top qualifier was Will Power in sixth, ending the team’s streak of winning the pole in all five of this season’s previous races.

Here are some things we learned from qualifying:

HONDA POWER: The Honda cars have been better all week and, thanks to Hinchcliffe, the engine-manufacturer has its first Indianapolis pole since 2011. Now comes the real test: Which engine will perform better in race conditions?

TOUGH MONTH: Chip Ganassi’s team has struggled all month and they’re hoping a quicker-than-expected engine change could be the turning point. The trouble began when 2013 race winner Tony Kanaan was knocked out of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in a first turn crash. That was followed by rookie Max Chilton’s crash in practice Saturday, poor speeds in Saturday’s qualifying which kept them out of the pole shootout and Scott Dixon’s engine problem late in Sunday’s practice. Dixon is the team’s highest qualifier at No. 13 after crew members switched engines in 64 minutes, a job that normally requires three hours.

PAYING TRIBUTE: Stefan Wilson of England will make his first career start Sunday after qualifying 30th. But this race will be about a lot more than a rookie. Wilson is driving the Driven2SaveLives car as a tribute to his late brother, Justin, who was killed when debris hit him in the head in Pocono last August. Wilson also is wearing a helmet that bears his colors on one side and his brother’s colors on the other.

FAMILY TIES: Rookie Matt Brabham became the latest third-generation driver to make the race by qualifying 27th. His father, Geoff, made 10 starts at Indy, finishing fifth as a rookie in 1981. Jack Brabham, Matt’s grandfather, made four starts in the 500 and finished a career best ninth as a rookie in 1961.

HISTORY LESSON: Tagliani, the 2011 Indy pole winner, will start 33rd after crashing the No. 35 car during his warmup lap. Tagliani was not seriously injured but he will be the first driver since 1924 to start the race with no official qualifying speed.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – James Hinchcliffe watched the Indianapolis 500 last year from his hospital bed. He had nearly died from injuries six days earlier in a crash at famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Now he’ll start the historic 100th running of “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing” from the pole.

The Canadian continued his remarkable comeback Sunday by edging American Josef Newgarden for the top starting spot next Sunday. Hinchcliffe earned the pole with a four-lap average of 230.760 mph.

A day after qualifying last year, Hinchcliffe spun and hit the wall during a practice session. The impact caused a piece of his car to break and sail through his thigh. Hinchcliffe would have bled to death if not for the fast work of IndyCar’s medical team, which staunched the bleeding and raced him to a nearby hospital for life-saving surgery.

“I don’t think anyone can describe nearly losing your life at a track, then going back there to go 240 mph into a corner,” said Ryan Hunter-Reay, one of the many drivers to congratulate Hinchcliffe after his pole-winning run Sunday.

Newgarden will start second after qualifying at 230.700, and the difference between Hinchcliffe and Newgarden was the fourth-closest between first and second in Indy’s 100-year history.

Hinchcliffe won it in dramatic fashion, too, on the final run of the nine-car pole shootout. It also came on the fifth anniversary of team owner Sam Schmidt’s team winning the pole in 2011.

“Mom moved in on May 1st, she didn’t want to miss a lap, just in case I tried to kill myself again,” Hinchcliffe said about his parents, who were on vacation when he crashed last year and IndyCar had to scramble to get them to Indianapolis while their son was in surgery.

Hunter-Reay, the 2014 winner, will start third on the outside of Row 1 after going 230.648. The runs by Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay, who drives for Andretti Autosport, put two Hondas on the front row in a season that so far has been dominated by Chevrolet teams. Newgarden will be sandwiched in between the two Hondas in a Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing.

For a bit, it seemed as if Newgarden would win the pole. He was the only driver to turn a lap over 231 mph and Hunter-Reay barely knocked him off before Hinchcliffe began his run.

Hinchcliffe’s victory marks the first time in six races that Team Penske drivers have not won the pole. It also ends a 31-race pole drought for Honda, which dated to the 2014 race in Houston.

It’s also the first time Honda has claimed the Indy 500 pole since 2011, the year before Chevrolet rejoined the engine competition in IndyCars.

For Newgarden, it will be his first career front-row start at Indy.

Qualifying was marred by one crash. Canada’s Alex Tagliani, who drives for A.J. Foyt, spun coming out of the fourth turn of his warmup lap and slammed into the attenuator at the entrance to pit road. Though his car spun 5 1/2 times, he was quickly checked, released and cleared to drive by the infield medical center.

Tagliani will start last on the traditional 33-car starting gird and will be the first starter since 1924 to start the race without an official qualifying speed.

Townsend Bell and Carlos Munoz qualified fourth and fifth to give Andretti three spots in the top five.

Will Power was sixth and the highest-qualifying Penske driver.

Mikhail Aleshin and Oriol Servia qualified seventh and 10th as Schmidt got all three of his Hondas in the top 10.

Defending race winner Juan Pablo Montoya will start 17th after a bizarre sequence in which he ran over a trash bag during his qualifying attempt. IndyCar said the debris on the track was its responsibility and let Montoya try to qualify again, but his pace was not competitive.

Scott Dixon qualified 13th and was the highest qualifying driver from Chip Ganassi Racing, as both Ganassi and Penske were overshadowed Sunday by smaller teams.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – James Hinchcliffe posted the fastest four-lap average in Indianapolis 500 qualifying Saturday to take the top seed into the pole shootout Sunday.

The Canadian driver for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports hung on after moving past three-time race winner Helio Castroneves in the final 40 minutes. Hinchcliffe finished at 230.946 mph.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy winner, moved into second on the second-to-last run of the day at 230.805. Team Penske’s Will Power was third at 230.736, and Castroneves fourth at 230.500.

All 33 starting positions will be set Sunday. The nine fastest from Saturday advanced to the shootout.

Weather changes made for a wild day on the 2.5-mile oval, with the lead switching hands twice in the final 45 minutes and bumping for the shootout taking place until the session’s final run.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – One of IndyCars most eligible bachelors appeared on the Steve Harvey show to help him find a date.

James Hinchcliffe is set to appear on the show on Tuesday at 3 p.m. for Harvey’s “Summer of Steve Week” series. Hinchcliffe let Harvey play matchmaker for him. On the show Harvey introduces Hinchclifee to two woman that he picked.

One of the women is an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader and the other is a model in Chicago.

Watch the show on WISH-TV at 3 p.m. to find out if one of the women was a match for the four-time IndyCar winner.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A crash last May nearly killed James Hinchcliffe. In April he made his return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to test the configuration of the new super speedway aero kit package.

Hinchcliffe shared what he remembers from the crash.

“I remember starting that lap. I remembered being gapped to Montoya and the next thing I knew, I was in ICU trying to figure out how I got there,” said Hinchcliffe.

Doctors who treated him said it was a scary moment.

“He was bleeding fairly badly in the back of the ambulance so we started for Methodist, said Dr. Pohlman. “My hand was on Hinch trying to feel a pulse and I lost his pulse he still had a rhythm.

On Wednesday May 25, 24-Hour News 8 will introduce you to Hinch’s Heroes in a one hour special on WISH-TV at 7 p.m.

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