UPDATE: Ryan Briscoe breaks wrist, Munoz to replace Sunday at Toronto

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Panther Racing has confirmed that driver Ryan Briscoe will not compete in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto weekend after sustaining a broken wrist in an incident during today’s Race 1 at Exhibition Place.

Briscoe will require surgery for a fractured distal radius bone in his right wrist, but could be available again as early as the next IZOD IndyCar Series event on Aug. 4 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Australian was running 12th when contact on Lap 65 between Charlie Kimball and Justin Wilson sent the latter into Briscoe’s No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet. Briscoe sustained his wrist fracture while holding onto the steering wheel, and was promptly taken to a local hospital for precautionary X-rays.

Briscoe later tweeted a picture of himself and his injured wrist with the message: “Yes folks, I broke my wrist today… What a pain in the…… wrist! Docs say I should have a speedy recovery.”

“All of us at Panther Racing hate to see this happen to Ryan, but we’ve spoken with [IndyCar orthopedic consultant] Dr. Terry Trammel and the quick recovery time for this type of injury is very encouraging,” Panther Managing Partner John Barnes said in a team statement. “We all wish Ryan a very speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back in the National Guard car very soon.”

In the same statement, the team said that they will announce tomorrow morning whether they will use a replacement driver or withdraw from the remainder of the weekend. However, Firestone Indy Lights championship leader Carlos Munoz has said on Twitter this evening that he has received the nod to take over the No. 4 tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Briscoe’s injury may also impact his full-time duties in the American Le Mans Series for Level 5 Motorsports. The ALMS is racing next weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course outside Toronto.

SUNDAY, 8:15 a.m.: Panther Racing has made official what Munoz said yesterday – the 2013 Indianapolis 500 rookie-of-the-year will make his first road or street course start in IndyCar on Sunday.

“Carlos is a tremendous young driver with a great deal of talent,” Panther Managing Partner John Barnes said in a team statement. “We’re excited that he was available to drive the National Guard Chevrolet today on such short notice, and I’m sure this will be a great learning experience for him. We’re obviously wishing Ryan (Briscoe) a speedy recovery, but also very happy to make the most of this opportunity with Carlos today.”

Munoz, who had said earlier in the week he’d be unlikely to race any further IndyCar events, at least with Andretti Autosport, is pleased with the opportunity.

“I have to thank John Barnes, Panther Racing and the National Guard for this opportunity,” Munoz said. “It’s unfortunate that it comes as a result of Ryan being injured, but I’m excited about making the most of this opportunity. Toronto is a challenging circuit, but just watching practice and qualifications the last few days it’s obvious that the National Guard Chevy is fast and I hope to help bring the team a great end to the weekend today.”

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.