Blomqvist to Substitute for Pagenaud in Toronto

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Blomqvist to Substitute for Pagenaud in Toronto

Fresh from IMSA CTMP victory, Blomqvist drafted in as Pagenaud continues Mid-Ohio recovery
Toronto, Ontario (11 July 2023) – When Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) found itself in need of a replacement driver for the injured Simon Pagenaud this weekend in Toronto, the team just walked through the doors of its IMSA program and tabbed another experienced champion to take the wheel.

Two-time defending and reigning Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona winner Tom Blomqvist will make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut this weekend, taking the reins of the No. 60 AutoNation / Sirius XM Honda. The move was made necessary Tuesday after the series’ medical staff did not clear Pagenaud to compete this weekend as the Frenchman continues his recovery from the effects of a dramatic barrel-rolling crash that took place in Saturday’s practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Blomqvist, who won the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Championship with Meyer Shank Racing, has run primarily in sports cars and prototypes in the last seven seasons after having started his career in open-wheel racing. Last weekend, Blomqvist claimed pole position at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on his way to victory at the track with co-driver Colin Braun.
The Toronto outing will not be his first on board an INDYCAR SERIES race car, as Blomqvist had an INDYCAR test with MSR in Sebring in October of 2022. The British-born driver came up through the karting ranks and ran four seasons in various Formula 3 series in Europe, scoring 12 wins. He also broke Lewis Hamilton’s record as the youngest champion of the Formula Renault UK series, taking the crown at the age of 16.
His INDYCAR SERIES debut comes in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto, as the series battles for the 37th time on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile street course that winds through the city’s Exhibition Place grounds.
This weekend’s MSR lineup features drivers on both ends of the seat time spectrum as the rookie Blomqvist will be joined by veteran Helio Castroneves (No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda) who is looking to reprise previous successes on the course that lies in the shadow of the Princes’ Gate.
Castroneves has five front-row starts to his credit in Toronto, including pole positions in 2000 and 2004. The Brazilian has led laps in seven of his starts in the Ontario city and has finished on the lead lap in each of his last nine INDYCAR starts there.
Sunday’s 85-lap race will air on Peacock on Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying takes place on Saturday, July 15, beginning at 2:45 p.m. with live coverage on Peacock. SiriusXM will also host live race coverage on XM Ch. 160.
Meyer Shank Racing Driver Quotes:

Mike Shank:

“Simon says he’s feeling fine and absolutely ready to get back in the car once he is cleared, but he knows there is an INDYCAR protocol in place to protect the drivers, so we just have to follow those guidelines. I know he was disappointed to end his long streak of starts but everyone wants him to be as healthy as possible so we just have to follow the indycar medical guidance on this.

We are fortunate to have Tom available to jump in on such short notice. He’s a champion, has a little bit of experience in the car, and is coming off another big IMSA win last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, so this was not a tough call for us to make.”

Tom Blomqvist:

“First and foremost, I’m thinking of Simon and hoping that he recovers as quickly as possible so that he can get back behind the wheel. I have to thank Mike and Jim for considering me to fill in this weekend. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what IndyCar has to offer. Diving straight into the deep end is an understatement after only having one test in the MSR Indy car last year. I’m excited but aware of the challenges getting up to speed during a race weekend, so I’m not putting any pressure on myself. Just going to go out there soak it all in and give it all I’ve got.”
Helio Castroneves:

“I’m very excited to get back to Toronto, it’s a very fun event getting to run on the streets. The team has been working so hard in the last few races to get some momentum going and I think we have made improvements and learned a lot. We will take that to Toronto this weekend and have a good race.”