Simon Pagenaud has not been cleared to race at this weekend’s IndyCar race from the streets of Toronto, opening up the door for Tom Blomqvist to make his series debut.

Pagenaud suffered a dramatic crash during practice for the recent race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, tumbling seven times through the gravel before coming to rest against the tire barriers.

The failure of a part supplied by a vendor was given as the cause for the accident, which resulted in Pagenaud losing his brakes at the end of the longest straight on the course.

The veteran was cleared of any physical injuries, but was not able to pass cognitive tests administered by the IndyCar medical team. Conor Daly filled in for the rest of the Mid-Ohio weekend, and now Meyer Shank Racing has pulled in its star IMSA driver Blomqvist for the Toronto race.

“First and foremost, I’m thinking of Simon and hoping that he recovers as quickly as possible so that he can get back behind the wheel,” said Blomqvist.

“I have to thank Mike [Shank] and Jim [Meyer] for considering me to fill in this weekend. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what IndyCar has to offer.

“Diving straight into the deep end is an understatement after only having one test in the MSR Indy car last year. I’m excited but aware of the challenges getting up to speed during a race weekend, so I’m not putting any pressure on myself. Just going to go out there soak it all in and give it all I’ve got.”

Blomqvist drove alongside Colin Braun last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, claiming pole and taking overall victory in the race.

The triple-nationality driver also won the overall IMSA prototype championship in 2022, giving MSR its highest achievement in prototype racing to date.

Blomqvist will race alongside Helio Castroneves this weekend, learning from the veteran as best he can before taking the green flag on Sunday afternoon.

Conor Daly filled in for Pagenaud at Mid-Ohio, driving a backup car. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

“Simon says he’s feeling fine and absolutely ready to get back in the car once he is cleared, but he knows there is an IndyCar protocol in place to protect the drivers, so we just have to follow those guidelines,” said MSR co-owner Mike Shank.

“I know he was disappointed to end his long streak of starts but everyone wants him to be as healthy as possible so we just have to follow the IndyCar medical guidance on this.

“We are fortunate to have Tom available to jump in on such short notice. He’s a champion, has a little bit of experience in the car, and is coming off another big IMSA win last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, so this was not a tough call for us to make.”

Blomqvist has taken part in one IndyCar test day before, but has competed in many different racing disciplines over the past 15 years.

His first time on track will be Friday at 3:00 PM Eastern, when he will attempt to learn everything he can about the temporary course in the heart of Toronto.

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