Pagenaud not cleared for Toronto; Tom Blomqvist to drive the #60 car

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Photo credit: Meyer Shank Racing

Meyer Shank Racing announced on Tuesday that defending IMSA co-champion Tom Blomqvist will be making his Indycar debut at the Honda Indy Toronto on July 16. He will be filling in for Simon Pagenaud in the #60 car, the 2016 champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner still not cleared to race after his barrel-roll crash in practice at Mid-Ohio July 1.

Blomqvist, who has been racing for MSR in IMSA since 2022 and is coming off a win at Mosport last weekend, has tested with the team in Indycar but said that being deputized for this weekend was “dicing straight into the deep end”.

“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.”

Team owner Michael Shank was less cautious in his assessment.

“He’s a champion, has a little bit of experience in the car, and is coming off another big IMSA win[…] so this was not a tough call for us to make.”

Blomqvist has four wins in IMSA prototypes in two seasons, including back-to-back wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona partnering with Indycar teammate Helio Castroneves, who, despite a struggle of a season for MSR, is optimistic about the team’s pace heading into Toronto.

“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.”

Shank also gave an update on Pagenaud, who is missing his first IndyCar race weekend in over 11 years of racing.

“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.”

Pagenaud also released a statement which you can read below.