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IndyCar Portland

Pagenaud ruled out for rest of IndyCar season, Blomqvist in at MSR

IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud will not return to Meyer Shank Racing for the rest of the season, the team has confirmed.

Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Pagenaud has suffered ongoing concussion-like symptoms following his huge crash in practice at Mid-Ohio in July, which was caused by a brake failure.

He has failed to gain clearance from IndyCar’s medical team after multiple evaluations since his horrendous wreck, and MSR has opted to put its 2024 signing Tom Blomqvist in the #60 car for the final two races of the season at Portland and Laguna Seca.

“I have been working with an excellent team of doctors and I have made progress,” said Pagenaud. 

“The doctor's advice is for me to take more time to continue my way back to 100%, so I will not be racing the final two races of the 2023 season.

“The accident left me with lingering post-concussion symptoms. I am working hard to get back to 100% but this type of recovery is unique in time to each individual.

“I wish I could be out there doing what I love and driving my race car but the accident was very violent and left me to focus on the task at hand: my health and recovery.”

Blomqvist made his series debut in Toronto, but after impressing in a wet qualifying session he was taken out in a first-corner crash.

He remains in contention to repeat his IMSA SportsCar title with MSR’s Acura squad, despite the team getting a 200-point penalty after winning the Daytona 24 Hours when tyre pressure reporting irregularities were discovered.

“Obviously the circumstances are quite tricky with Simon’s recovery and the whole situation surrounding the 60 car,” said Blomqvist. “I know the whole team and myself included are thinking about him as he recovers.

Tom Blomqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Tom Blomqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“I’ve got to thank Jim [Meyer] and Mike [Shank] for getting me in the car and looking ahead now to next season having been confirmed to drive with MSR next year.

“It’s a good thing to be getting these races under my belt before the season and working in preparation for my full program in 2024.

“I got a brief test in Toronto under very challenging circumstances – without any real preparation whatsoever.”

Blomqvist has withdrawn from United Autosports’ World Endurance Championship driver line-up in Fuji, as the event clashed with IndyCar’s season finale at Laguna, and he will be replaced by former IndyCar racer Ben Hanley.

He believes these two events can be a kickstart to his full-time drive in 2024 with the team, which was confirmed earlier this month.

“Now I’ve got a little bit more understanding and knowledge and I’m hoping it’s going to be easier this time,” he added. “I’m going to have the opportunity to get into the simulator and I know a little bit more of what to expect in terms of the way the weekend runs.

“I don’t know Portland at all and I know everyone has been racing flat-out in the summer. It’s still going to be an absolutely huge challenge.

“The series is so, so competitive and I am still new to these cars. I'm not putting any pressure on myself and I’m just going to go out there and do my best.

“Hopefully after these next two events I can be happy and put in some strong performances and go into winter break with more knowledge on the series and be able to build on this.”

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