Simon Pagenaud out for rest of IndyCar season; Tom Blomqvist will drive final two races

Tom Blomqvist - Honda Indy Toronto - By_ Joe Skibinski_Large Image Without Watermark_m86644.jpg
Tom Blomqvist - Honda Indy Toronto - By_ Joe Skibinski_Large Image Without Watermark_m86644.jpg

Simon Pagenaud will miss the final two races of the NTT IndyCar Series season while continuing to recover from his July 1 practice crash at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The 2019 Indy 500 winner and 2016 IndyCar champion has been out of the car for the past seven races, and Meyer Shank Racing announced Monday that the IndyCar medical team hasn't cleared Pagenaud for the final two races at Portland International Raceway (Sept. 3) and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Sept. 10).

Tom Blomqvist, who is moving into a full-time ride with MSR next season, will drive the No. 60 Dallara-Honda in place of Pagenaud at Portland and Laguna Seca. Blomqvist made his IndyCar debut last month on the streets of Toronto, where he was collected in a first-lap crash.

“Obviously the circumstances are quite tricky with Simon’s recovery and the whole situation surrounding the 60 car," Blomqvist said in a release. "I know the whole team and myself included are thinking about him as he recovers. I’ve got to thank (team co-owners) 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.

"Now I’ve got a little bit more understanding and knowledge, and I’m hoping it’s going to be easier this time. 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."

The two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and 2022 IMSA champion has experience in sports cars at Laguna Seca, having finished sixth there May 14 driving MSR's Acura ARX-06 with Colin Braun.

"I don’t know Portland at all and I know everyone has been racing flat-out in the summer," Blomqvist said. "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, I can do Mike and Jim proud and make progress with every session. 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.”