|Bourdais returns early|
Less than 14 weeks after being sidelined following his scary qualifying incident at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sebastien Bourdais is returning behind the wheel of the #18 Dale Coyne Racing entry at this weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Bourdais, who suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and right hip in the incident, made an incredible recovery from his injuries and is returning sooner than anticipated to take part in the final three races of the season.
“You have no idea how excited I am to be getting back in the car this weekend and for the remainder of the season," expressed Bourdais, who won the season opening race in his hometown of St. Petersburg earlier this year. “It’s been a long 14 weeks and I’ve worked very hard to get to this point. Following the crash, I had one goal in mind and that was to be back for Sonoma, and here I am getting back in the car with three races to go. It’s a bit unbelievable but I can’t wait to try out that new surface at Gateway this weekend!"
With Bourdais’ return to the cockpit, it means that rookie Esteban Gutierrez will be stepping aside to allow the Frenchman to get back in the car, as planned.
“It’s been a very interesting few months for me getting to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series on the street circuits, road courses and especially ovals," shared Gutierrez. “I want to thank the team and Dale Coyne for giving me this opportunity to gain this experience in view of a full-time program in the Verizon IndyCar Series next year. My goal was to learn as much as possible in order to be ready for 2018 where a new car will be introduced. This experience with the team will pay dividends next season."
Team Owner Dale Coyne added: “It’s great to have Sebastien back, but I want to thank Esteban for the amazing job he did filling in for him these last few months. It wasn’t easy for him coming in and having never driven an Indy car, but he did a fantastic job especially on the ovals. For someone that had never driven on an oval track before Iowa in July, he impressed a lot of people including myself. Hopefully we get to work with him again in the future."
Bourdais will be on track starting this Friday, August 25 at 4pm local time for first practice session. With only 60-minutes of practice, there won’t be a lot of time for Bourdais, along with teammate Ed Jones, to get up to speed ahead of qualifying, which takes place later that evening at 6:30pm local time.
Qualifying for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline will be broadcast on tape-delay on NBCSN on Saturday, August 26 at 7:30pm ET just before the live broadcast of the 248-lap race on NBCSN starting at 9pm ET.