- Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make Indianapolis 500 starts 19 years apart, bettering Cy Marshall & Roland Free's 17-year gap set in 1947.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Driver Changes Entering Mid-Ohio

The IZOD IndyCar Series enters it's fourteenth of nineteen rounds this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course following a two-week layoff.

With 24-cars entered - par for the course since Detriot - driver changes are abundant.

The second Dale Coyne Racing entry will change controls for the sixth time in 2013, this time with rookie James Davison behind the wheel. The 26-year-old Australian will be entering the revolving door previously graced by Ana Beatriz, Mike Conway, and Pippa Mann, who've combined to run the #18 alongside full-timer pilot Justin Wilson.

"It's an incredible feeling to finally realize my dream of becoming an Indycar driver after 4 years of adversity on the sidelines.  I've had to work overtime for this opportunity and can't thank Dale Coyne and all my supporters enough for their continued faith in me,” said Davison.  “There will no doubt be a lot to learn however this is the challenge of racing some of the best drivers and teams in the world in Indycar.  I'll be pushing to achieve the best possible result in my rookie race."

Davison, who will be attempting to make his first start in the series, ran Firestone Indy Lights in 2008 and '09, driving to victory lane at Mid-Ohio both seasons. Davison completed at test on the course June 25th, and returned Wednesday to turn more laps during the series open test.

Former Panther/DRR driver Oriol Servia will return to action for the first time since mid-June's event in Iowa. Following Panther Racing's release of JR Hildebrand after Indianapolis, the team planned to utilize the remainder of the 2013 schedule to test drivers for their 2014 campaign. Ryan Briscoe and Servia alternated drives with Servia running Texas and Iowa while Briscoe ran the Detroit doubleheader, Milwaukee, Pocono and Toronto. Breaking his wrist in race one of two in Canada and Servia unavailable under short notice, Carlos Munoz drove the National Guard entry in the second round.

Although parties had hoped Briscoe - the leading candidate for the 2014 full-time seat - would be available for this weekend, following doctors orders he will not compete making the ride available to the Spaniard.

The third and final driver change of the weekend comes with the Honda-powered Bryan Hurta Autosport entry. Running full-time with the team since last season, Alex Tagliani will step aside following a disappointing season. Tagliani has a best finish of just 10th and went on a 6-race stretch of  bringing home a 21st or worse place finish.

Although the pilot for the race is yet to be announced, Luca Filippi appears to be the man. The Italian was tabbed to test for the team Wednesday and will likely be attempting to make his first IZOD IndyCar Series start on Sunday.

"I've been working and waiting for a chance like this my whole life," Filippi said. "I can't wait to test the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car and hopefully make the most of this opportunity to learn firsthand about Indycar Racing."

The 2011 GP2 runner up entered the IndyCar radar last season when he was slated to run with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing before funding fell through.

The complete 2013 car/driver/results chart can be found HERE.

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