With Alex Barron already ensconced in the Red Bull Cheever entry this weekend, it fell to the Indy Racing League's other 'supersub', Richie Hearn, to replace Buddy Lazier at Hemelgarn Racing for the Fontana round.

Hearn, without a drive after proving to have insufficient finance to support a full season behind the wheel, made an impressive return to the cockpit when he took the Menards entry to pole position last time out in Chicago, and was top of the list when Lazier and Hemelgarn decided that their long-standing partnership would not be appearing in California.

Hearn, however, may be inheriting something of a poisoned chalice, for Lazier, with all his experience of racing and working with the Hemelgarn crew, failed to haul the #91 Metabolife/Delta Faucet Dallara-Chevrolet away from the rear of the field. The 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner has missed only two of the 85 races in series history, having been with Hemelgarn since the start of the IRL, but languishes 17th overall in the point standings, with a best results of eleventh from both Phoenix and Gateway.

No reason has yet been given for his absence this weekend.