When ambulance crews arrived they found an off duty nurse and other bystanders caring for two occupants in the car.
West Mercia Police have appealed for witnesses with any dash cam footage or other information to contact them.
Pictures of the scene of Sunday's crash on a straight between Hinstock and Newport on Sunday afternoon have been released by fire crews from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, including one showing debris strewn across the road.
While emergency crews freed the car driver, another team of rescuers worked to stem a leak from the lorry which ended up in a hedge.
"The car had suffered a significant amount of damage and the male driver was found to be trapped," said a spokesman from Market Drayton Fire Station. Fire crews were also sent from Newport and Hodnet, along with the rescue tender from Wellington and an operations officer from headquarters.
The fire service spokesman said: "Crews quickly set about getting hydraulic rescue equipment to work, to begin to free the trapped driver."
Two ambulances and an incident officer from West Midlands ambulance service, along with the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford, carrying a critical care Doctor and Paramedic all attended the incident. Officers from West Mercia Police closed the A41 in both directions between Standford Bridge and Newport, with diversions put in place.
"Once clear of the vehicle the critical care doctor and paramedics stabilised the casualties condition, prior to them being flown to the trauma centre at the Royal Stoke University hospital, with potentially life changing injuries," added the spokesman.
Describing the scene as a "significant collision" between a car and a large goods vehicle, they worked closely with the critical care doctor and paramedics to carefully extract the driver by carrying out a side removal, roof flap and dashboard lift on the car utilising hydraulic cutters, spreaders and rams.
Whilst the rescue of the injured car driver was taking place, another team of firefighters worked to stem a leak from the damaged large goods vehicle, using equipment provided by the environment agency. The vehicle was also made electrically safe.
"Once firefighters had managed to create full access to the injured driver, a long board was carefully put in place, then in a controlled manner the casualty was lifted from the vehicle," said the fire service spokesman.
"Our thoughts are with the injured male, we hope that they are soon on the road to recovery."
The cause of the collision is under investigation by officers from West Mercia Polices collision investigation unit.
West Midlands Ambulance Service received several 999 calls reporting a collision involving a car and a lorry on the A41 Chester Road, Chetwynd at 3.54pm (Sunday). Three ambulances, two paramedic officers and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford with a doctor and paramedic on board attended the scene.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “When crews arrived they found an off duty nurse and other bystanders caring for two occupants in the car. The driver, a man, was found with serious injuries.
"The team of ambulance staff worked closely with fire colleagues to release the man from the car whilst administering trauma care to stabilise his serious condition. The man was airlifted to Royal Stoke University Hospital to receive further specialist trauma care.
“The passenger of the car, a woman, was given treatment on scene for less serious injuries before being conveyed by land ambulance to the same hospital for further checks.”
West Mercia Police is appealing for witnesses following what they called a "serious collision" shortly before 3.55pm involving a Volkswagen Golf estate and a HGV near the Stanford Bridge crossroads, north of Newport.
A spokesman said: "The driver of the Volkswagen Golf suffered life changing injuries and was transported to hospital by air ambulance."
Anyone who saw the collision, or may have captured it on dash cam, is asked to please get in touch.
Witnesses should visit https://orlo.uk/7Tk6M quoting incident 448i of 31 July 2022.
Councillors recently backed a safety review for that stretch of the A41 after a several serious injuries and deaths.