INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Veteran driver Stephan Gregoire crashed into the wall and broke his back Thursday during practice for the Indianapolis 500.
He was examined at the Speedway's infield hospital and transferred downtown to Methodist Hospital, where an MRI showed a fracture of the third thoracic verterbra, said Dr. Mike Olinger, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League.
Gregoire was expected to be released from the hospital Friday, but there was no immediate word whether he would be able to drive.
The final qualifications for the May 27 race are Saturday and Sunday.
Gregoire, who hasn't yet qualified, had a top speed of 217.851 mph and had just completed a lap at almost 215 mph when his Panoz race car got sideways and backed into the wall coming out of the first turn. He was helped out of the car and was standing on his own but later complained of back pain.
The 38-year-old Frenchman has been in seven races at Indianapolis, with his best finish eighth in 2000.
It was the fourth crash since practice began May 6. Jon Herb, Milka Duno and Jimmy Kite were not injured in the earlier incidents.