Charlie Kimball has been declared unfit to race at this weekend's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 5, following his crash in testing last week that resulted in a fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his right hand.
The injury was initially thought to be minor and the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team were confident that Kimball would be able to race as normal at the next race of the season. However, further evaluation of the injury in the days since the accident have led to Kimball being forced to sit out the 12th race of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series.
"I'm very disappointed to miss out on the Mid-Ohio race weekend," said Kimball. "We had such a good race there last year and I was really looking forward to another shot at the podium. However, I trust the medical professionals at IndyCar, and we're making sure I'm back to 100 percent for Sonoma."
Kimball had been hoping to build on a recent surge in form, which included a strong second place at Toronto earlier this month.
"Not having Charlie drive at Mid-Ohio is very disappointing," concurred the managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing, Mike Hull. "Since IndyCar has the best medical resource in motorsports, his recovery will be swift. His performance over the past few weeks has been impressive with increased momentum, so our expectation is that he will be back at full-strength quickly."
The team have called up Giorgio Pantano to substitute for Kimball in the #83 car at Mid-Ohio. The 33-year-old Italian former GP2 driver had two outings with the team in 2005 subbing for an injured Ryan Briscoe, and also had three races with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing last season after their regular priver Justin Wilson injured his back in a practice accident - which also happened at Mid-Ohio, and sidelined the English driver for the rest of the season.
"It's a tremendous opportunity to be rejoining Chip Ganassi Racing and the IZOD IndyCar Series this weekend at Mid-Ohio," said Pantano. "You never want to have something happen to another driver and I wish Charlie a quick recovery. Nonetheless, the opportunity is here and I am looking forward to working with the team again and making the best of it."
"We're lucky to have Giorgio in the seat of the #83 car while I'm healing up," said Kimball. "I'll be there this weekend to help him and the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. Even though I won't be in the cockpit, I will do everything I can to drive the whole #83 car program forward for this season and the future."
"We're fortunate to have Giorgio Pantano available as the #83 car driver at Mid-Ohio," agreed Mike Hull. "His impressive global resume fits well with the natural terrain road track of Mid-Ohio. To have a quality driver, who has won the GP2 Championship [in 2008] against the best and blends into the team concept is hard to find on short notice."