After spending the past 14 weeks on the sidelines, Sebastien Bourdais will be back behind the wheel of his familiar No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing entry for the final three races this season, beginning with Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Bourdais started off the season with a victory in the season opener at St. Petersburg, followed by a pair of top-eight finishes in the next four races before his accident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
During qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, he made substantial contact with the wall, suffering multiple fractures to the pelvis and a broken right hip. He underwent successful surgery for his pelvic injuries on the evening of the crash, before going through physical therapy.
“You have no idea how excited I am to be getting back in the car this weekend and for the remainder of the season,” Bourdais said. “It’s been a long 14 weeks, and I’ve worked very hard to get to this point. Following the crash, I had one goal in mind, and that was to be back for Sonoma, and here I am getting back in the car with three races to go. It’s a bit unbelievable, but I can’t wait to try out that new surface at Gateway this weekend!”
While team owner Dale Coyne says it is great to have Bourdais back, he expressed gratitude towards rookie Esteban Gutierrez for his job as a substitute for the past seven events.
“It wasn’t easy for him coming in and having never driven an Indy car, but he did a fantastic job especially on the ovals,” Coyne said. “For someone that had never driven on an oval track before Iowa in July, he impressed a lot of people including myself. Hopefully, we get to work with him again in the future.”
After James Davison ran the Indianapolis 500 for the organization, Gutierrez took over for the next seven events, with a best-finish of 13th at Iowa Speedway.
“It’s been a very interesting (past) few months for me getting to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series on the street circuits, road courses and especially ovals,” Gutierrez said. “I want to thank the team and Dale Coyne for giving me this opportunity to gain this experience in view of a full-time program in the Verizon IndyCar Series next year. My goal was to learn as much as possible in order to be ready for 2018 where a new car will be introduced. This experience with the team will pay dividends next season.”
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