NASCAR notes: Shawna Robinson diagnosed with breast cancer; Stremme gets ride

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Two bits of NASCAR news and notes to report this Thursday:

  • First up, and in an unfortunate bit of news, former NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson announced Wednesday she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Via the Charlotte Observer, she said, “I’m getting ready to start a new journey that was unexpected but I am prepared to take it on as I would any challenge ..with direction and strength. I have breast cancer…when they tell you you have cancer you don’t hear the rest you just see talking and you seem to be there but your not hearing the words. But it is real, start Chemo next week for 5-6 months then surgery….there is such progress in cancer treatment…..still scared but prepared for battle. Thankful for the family and friends….I’m blessed to have….ready to go wide open and get this thing!!!” Robinson is the first woman to have won a pole in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
  • David Stremme returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend at Martinsville, in Circle Sport Racing’s No. 33 Mace Chevrolet. He has 190 career Cup starts, and in 25 last year with Swan Racing posted a best finish of 12th at Talladega in April. Brian Scott has driven the No. 33 most races this year.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.