Sebastien Bourdais undergoes surgery after Indy qualifying crash

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sebastien Bourdais underwent surgery Saturday night to repair a fractured pelvis after a fiery crash in Indianapolis 500 qualifying.

Indiana University Methodist Hospital doctors told track officials that the 38-year-old Frenchman had multiple fractures in his pelvis and a fractured right hip.

In a statement after the surgery, Bourdais said: "I want to thank everybody for the support and the messages, quite a few drivers have already dropped by. It's going to take time, but I'm feeling pretty good since the surgery. I'll be back at some point. Just don't know when yet!"

"Surgery went well," IndyCar medical director Dr. Geoffrey Billows said in a statement. "I've met with Sebastien this morning and he was doing even better than I expected."

Bourdais will be out for the season, team owner Dale Coyne told motorsports.com on Sunday.

"We're told he's going to be six to eight weeks on crutches and then there's rehab," Coyne said. "So yeah, that's it for the season.

"It's sad for Sebastien that it came when we were looking really good. I mean, I thought he was the class of the field here all week."

Bourdais slammed head-on into the second turn wall after completed two laps at over 231 mph, the fastest laps of the day.

As the image of the hit -- the car flipping over and flames and smoke billowing out -- appeared on video boards around the track, drivers were stunned as safety team members spent about 10 minutes trying to get Bourdais out of the car.

"You see big numbers during the week and people that are fast, the one that obviously stood out for me during the whole week was Bourdais,'' Scott Dixon said. "Thinking of him, hoping he's OK. It was definitely a big hit.''

Bourdais was transported by ambulance from the track to the hospital, and track officials said he never lost consciousness.

Other drivers were concerned, too.

Ed Carpenter, who grew up around the track, called it one of the hardest hits he's ever seen in 500 qualifying. He said it took his breath away.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso also said he was hoping for a quick recovery.

"I know him from F1 time, and also yesterday we were talking in the casino, in the event, all together about the cars, about how he feels here, how fast he was on Friday,'' Alonso said. "He was still very fast today.''

For the four-time Champ Car champion won the IndyCar season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, after starting 21st. Bourdais followed that with finishes of second at Long Beach, California, and eighth at Alabama before a crash at Phoenix dropped him to 19th.

Last weekend at the IndyCar Grand Prix, a bad engine forced him to drop out after only a few laps. And after another engine change Thursday night, Bourdais suddenly jumped to the top of the 500 speed chart Friday -- giving him hope of winning the pole.

"It's what this season has been for us so far,'' Bourdais said Friday. "We've had really good days and really pretty terrible days. But the good thing is, you know, when we're given the opportunity, we seem to make the best of it.''

Dale Coyne Racing announced Sunday that James Davison will replace Bourdais in the Indianapolis 500 on May 28.

"My thoughts are with Sebastien and Claire Bourdais," Davison said. "This is never the circumstance that a driver wants to secure an opportunity to drive in the Indianapolis 500.

"With that said, I'm extremely excited and ready to take on this challenge. The prime goal will be to secure a strong result for the team, Sebastien and all our sponsors. I can't wait to get started."

Davison will be on track Monday for practice.

He has two previous appearances in the Indy 500, finishing 16th as a rookie in 2014 and 27th in 2015, when he drove for Dale Coyne Racing.

Because only 33 cars are entered for the 500, any that do not qualify Sunday will start from the back of the field and will be arranged based on entrant's points. The final two practices are scheduled for Sunday and Friday.

Bourdais raced in Formula One in 2008-09. He's sixth on IndyCar's career victory list with 35.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.