Scheckter Fills In For Conway
By John Sturbin/Senior Writer
Fort Worth, Texas – Tomas Scheckter, a former IZOD IndyCar Series pole and race-winner at Texas Motor Speedway, will replace Mike Conway in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s No. 24 Roll Coater entry during Saturday night’s Firestone 550k.
Conway is recovering from multiple leg and back injuries suffered during a spectacular last-lap crash involving Ryan Hunter-Reay in Sunday’s 94th Indianapolis 500. Conway, a native of England, collided with Hunter-Reay exiting Turn 4 and the wheel-to-wheel contact launched the No. 24 Dallara/Honda into the catch-fence.
Conway was airlifted to Methodist Hospital where he underwent surgery Sunday night to repair fractures to his lower left leg. He also sustained a soft tissue injury to his lower left leg and is facing another surgical procedure. Additionally, Conway suffered a compression fracture to one of his thoracic vertebrae and is being fitted for a back brace, which he will wear for three months.
“I’m feeling fine at the moment, all things considered,” Conway, 26, said Thursday in a statement. “I’m just thankful that I came out of it alive. I want to thank all of the medical staff at Methodist Hospital, as well as the IRL (Indy Racing League) safety team and all of those at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that pulled me out of the car. They’ve all done a fantastic job. I also want to thank my parents, friends and race team for all of their support and all of those that have sent on their well wishes. I’m hoping for a speedy recovery and I’m already looking forward to being back behind the wheel of a race car.”
Scheckter, meanwhile, emerged as a logical replacement following a 15th-place finish at Indy in the No. 23 MonaVie Dallara/Honda fielded by DRR. Scheckter led five laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway and finished 13th on the 1.5-mile Texas track for the team last June. Scheckter ran 10 races for DRR last year, earning three top-10 finishes highlighted by a best of sixth at Iowa Speedway.
Scheckter qualified on-pole and won the Bombardier Learjet 500k at TMS in June 2005 while driving for Panther Racing. He led 119 of 200 laps in that event, and has paced 371 laps in 10 races at TMS.
“Firstly, I’m upset about seeing my friend and roommate for most of last year get in such a terrible accident and my thoughts are with him,” said Scheckter, a 29-year-old native of South Africa. “I’m happy that the team has chosen me to step in for him this weekend while he recovers. I have won at Texas, earned two pole positions and led over 200 laps at the track. I always love going there.”
No decision has been made on a permanent replacement for the remainder of the season. “For us, Tomas made the most sense because we had a great run with him at this year’s Indianapolis 500, he has a ton of oval experience and we have a seat fitted for him,” said Dennis Reinbold, co-owner of DRR.No Comment