South African driver Tomas Scheckter is to make a return to IndyCar at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, taking over the Dreyer and Reinbold car normally driven by Justin Wilson.
The decision follows the announcement that Wilson himself has been ruled out of racing for three months after sustaining a stable burst fracture of his fifth thoracic vertebrae when he rain wide through turn 1 during Saturday morning practice ahead of the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
After being airlifted back from Ohio on Sunday, Wilson left hospital in Indianapolis on Tuesday following several days of evaluation and treatment under the care of IndyCar's medical director medical director Dr. Michael Olinger and specialist consultant Dr Terry Trammell. It was confirmed that Wilson would not be required to have surgery and there was no injury to his spinal cord, so he will be treated with a back brace and serial x-rays.
"I'm feeling good and I'm already thinking about getting back to racing," Wilson insisted. "Obviously, I have a little bit of a backache, but I'm just frustrated to not be at the racetrack. I think that we just started to get our season turned around and the car was really good at Mid-Ohio," he said.
"I'm just disappointed to not be in the car, but my back is the most important thing," he continued. "I'm going to try and get that to heal and get back to 100 percent as soon as possible and get back in the car." The medical staff have insisted that a three month lay-off from racing is the minimum, and with the end of the IndyCar season at Last Vegas only a little over two months away it means he will not be returning to the seat for the rest of the year.
"I'm feeling good and I'm already thinking about getting back to racing," said Wilson. "Also, the response has been incredible and it's really nice to see that on Twitter from the fans, or drivers and ex-drivers."
"We wish that Justin could be with us this weekend, but right now we are happy that he is okay and we just want him to have a speedy recovery," said Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold.
Last weekend at Mid-Ohio, DRR were lucky enough to find Simon Pagenaud at the track and able to step into the cockpit with 90 minutes notice. Pagenaud not only had extensive sportscar experience, he had been testing with Sam Schmidt Motorsports at Mid-Ohio the previous week and already had experience of stepping into the DRR car after subbing for an injured Ana Beatriz at Barber Motorsports Park in April.
DRR have followed a similar strategy for this coming weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway at Loudon, turning to another familiar face from their past line-up - this time one with proven oval racing experience in IndyCar.