|Alex Palou ready to go|
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Alex Palou will be able to debut at the IndyCar next weekend in Texas. The Catalan pilot is already in the United States, after the Department of Homeland Security had accepted the request of Indiana senator Mike Brown to include the pilots of IndyCar and IMSA among the athletes authorized to enter the country.
“I’m already in the United States!. I have been working very hard for the past two months to return. I must thank IndyCar and RFEdA for their efforts to make it possible, “said the pilot on his Twitter profile. His team greeted him with another message:" Welcome Alex! We are glad you were able to come back."
05/27/20 Alex Palou, a 23-year-old Spaniard, and Rinus VeeKay, a 19-year-old from the Netherlands, may miss the season opener on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway due to foreign travel restrictions as a result of the Chinese virus.
“We're working on a couple of options to get Alex back to the U.S., one of which is the exemption for foreign athletes," a Dale Coyne Racing team representative told Autoweek. “While it didn't include motorsports or race car drivers in what was initially mentioned, we're told the list wasn't exclusive. We're working closely with IndyCar on that. It's our preferred option as it would get him back more quickly."
The Department of Homeland Security announced a signed order last week by Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf that exempts foreign professional athletes coming into the United States. The MLB, NBA, WNBA, PGA Tour and NHL headlined a list of several stick-and-ball sports revealed in the press release.
However, there was no public mention of motorsports, which has a strong presence of professional foreign race car drivers.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana is trying to help.
“As one of the first U.S. Senators to start discussing Safe Restart to the economy, I was honored to be asked to join the President’s Re-Opening the Economy Congressional Task Force. I agree with the administration’s efforts to work with professional sports leagues to ensure that, with proper precautions, sports leagues are able to assist their professional athletes in returning to the United States. I thank you for your thoughtful approach to the current pandemic recovery.
“I would, however, respectfully point out one glaring omission in your recent Order – Motorsport.
“This Memorial Day weekend would have marked the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the world’s largest single day sporting event. Due to COVID-19, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing has been postponed until later this year, though the IndyCar Series has their first race slated for June 6, 2020, at Texas Motor Speedway where safety precautions are being taken very seriously. Motorsport series, like IndyCar and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), have significant international participation but have as much impact on the ‘national interest’ cited in the Order as other stick and ball sports. The traveling nature of the series provide individual tracks the opportunity to host these major events and provide significant local economic impact at every stop on the tour."