(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – Ryan Briscoe didn’t think twice about accepting the short-notice request from Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner Sam Schmidt to drive in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Briscoe, 33, was named to fill in for the injured James Hinchcliffe in the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hinchcliffe underwent surgery May 18 for a pelvic and upper left thigh injury suffered in a crash during practice earlier that day.
Hinchcliffe is recovering and was transferred May 20 from the Intensive Care Unit at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Upon further evaluation, it was determined he will require no further procedures and is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.
“First and foremost, I feel absolutely terrible for Hinch,” said Briscoe, who completed 21 laps in a one-hour “familiarization session” granted by INDYCAR to become acclimated to the car and aero kits that debuted this year. “I wish him the best and a speedy recovery.”
Briscoe joined the rest of the 33-car field for the traditional one-hour practice today, on Coors Light Carb Day, at 11:00 am in his rush to play catch-up.
“You (usually) sort of prepare for this race a year out,” he said. “You visualize how you’re going to go through practice, all the prep you’re going to do, and something like this comes up and you throw that all out the window. I feel with my experience and the experience the team has, the experience that Hinch has had with (race engineer) Allen McDonald putting this car in really good condition for the race, I feel really confident that even with a few laps I’ll be able to find my groove again.”
Briscoe will make his 10th Indianapolis 500 start and 130th overall in Indy car racing from the 32nd starting position (middle of Row 11). James Davison, who returned to the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda after Tristan Vautier qualified the car for him May 17, will start 33rd as determined by entrant points when a driver switch is made, per INDYCAR.
Briscoe was the 2012 pole sitter for the 500 Mile Race and that year tied his best finish of fifth from 2007. Last year, he started 30th in the NTT Data entry for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and finished 18th.
“We explored quite a few options and felt confident in Briscoe,” team co-owner Schmidt said. “We were glad he was available and willing to drive for us with such short notice. Obviously, this was not a situation we were expecting to be in for the biggest race of the year, but we’re making the best of it. Our thoughts and prayers are with James and his family right now.”
In other driver news, Verizon IndyCar Series driver Carlos Huertas has been ruled out of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race with an inner ear condition, according to Dr. Terry Trammell, INDYCAR medical consultant.
Huertas will have to undergo further evaluation before being cleared to return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition. The 23 year-old Colombian is out for the remainder of Indianapolis 500 on-track activities, including today’s Coors Light Carb Day practice and the May 24 race.
Huertas was scheduled to start on the outside of Row 6 in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. The team announced Tristan Vautier as Huertas’ replacement and the car will be moved to the last row of the 33-car field. It will start 32nd based on entrant points, according to Rules 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.
Starting line-up for the 99th Indianapolis 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 02:38.7579 (226.760)
2. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 02:39.0458 (226.350)
3. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 02:39.1900 (226.145)
4. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 02:39.6428 (225.503)
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 02:39.6439 (225.502)
6. (25) Justin Wilson, Honda, 02:39.8022 (225.279)
7. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 02:39.8626 (225.193)
8. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 02:39.8659 (225.189)
9. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 02:39.8670 (225.187)
10. (6) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 02:39.9297 (225.099)
11. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 02:39.9703 (225.042)
12. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 02:40.0830 (224.883)
13. (32) Oriol Servia, Honda, 02:40.1585 (224.777)
14. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 02:40.1828 (224.743)
15. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 02:40.2446 (224.657)
16. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 02:40.3041 (224.573)
17. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:40.5064 (224.290)
18. (29) Simona de Silvestro, Honda, 02:40.8304 (223.838)
19. (7) James Jakes, Honda, 02:40.8651 (223.790)
20. (48) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 02:40.9140 (223.722)
21. (8) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 02:41.0051 (223.595)
22. (43) Conor Daly, Honda, 02:41.0865 (223.482)
23. (24) Townsend Bell, Chevrolet, 02:41.1119 (223.447)
24. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 02:41.2718 (223.226)
25. (63) Pippa Mann, Honda, 02:41.3600 (223.104)
26. (98) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 02:41.4958 (222.916)
27. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 02:41.5086 (222.898)
28. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 02:40.9022 (223.738)
29. (4) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 02:42.1617 (222.001)
30. (88) Bryan Clauson, Chevrolet, 02:42.6328 (221.358)
31. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 02:41.0602 (223.519) *
32. (18) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 02:40.5473 (224.233)**
33. (19) James Davison, Honda, 02:40.8960 (223.747) ***
* Substitute driver for James Hinchcliffe, who qualified car on May 17.
** Replacement driver for Carlos Huertas, who qualified car on May 17.
*** Replacement driver for Tristan Vautier, who qualified car on May 17.
Note: Car order for Cars 5, 18, and 19 set by Verizon IndyCar Series entrant points entering event per Rules 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.