INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — James Davison will replace Sebastien Bourdais in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 car.
Bourdais crashed Saturday during Indianapolis 500 qualifying, leaving him with multiple fractures in his pelvis and a fractured right hip. The French driver had pelvic surgery and was recovering in a hospital Sunday.
“I want to thank everybody for the support and the messages, quite a few drivers have already dropped by,” Bourdais said Sunday in a statement. “It’s going to take time, but I’m feeling pretty good since the surgery. I’ll be back at some point. Just don’t know when yet!”
Bourdais, the four-time Champ Car champion, will likely miss the rest of the season, the team said Sunday. It’s unclear if Davison will remain in the car beyond next Sunday’s race.
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“It’s never easy when you have to replace an injured driver,” Coyne said. “But the important thing is that Sebastien is going to fully recover from his injuries and we’ll be waiting for him when he’s ready to come back.
“We’ve worked with James in the past and he’s done a good job for us, he’s familiar with the team and knows how we work so it was an easy decision when came the time to find someone to fill the No. 18 seat.”
Davison drove for Coyne’s team in the 2015 Indy 500, finishing 27th. He made two additional starts with the team in 2013 and finished a career best 16th in his only other 500 start, in 2014.
He is not expected to drive the No. 18 car until at least Monday. He was in town and getting track credentials Sunday when the final round of qualifications was being held.
The car will be at the back of the 33-car starting grid for next Sunday’s race. The final 500 practices are scheduled for Monday and Friday.
“This is never the circumstance that a driver wants to secure an opportunity to drive in the Indianapolis 500,” Davison said. “With that said, I’m extremely excited and ready to take on this challenge. The prime goal will be to secure a strong result for the team, Sebastien and all our sponsors. I can’t wait to get started.”
Bourdais’ car wiggled going through the second turn and when the four-time Champ Car champion tried to correct it, it slid up the track and slammed head-on into the SAFER barrier. The No. 18 car flipped before stopping on the back straightaway.
“Surgery went well,” IndyCar medical director Dr. Geoffrey Billows said in a statement. “I’ve met with Sebastien this morning and he was doing even better than I expected.”
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