Report: Russia’s Mikhail Aleshin won’t return to IndyCar in 2015, will compete instead in WEC LMP2

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Russian driver Mikhail Aleshin, who finished a promising 16th in his rookie season in the Verizon IndyCar Series, will not be returning for a sophomore campaign in 2015.

Ongoing struggles in the Russian economy, as well as United Nations sanctions against the Russian government, have forced Aleshin to forego his return to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, according to a report by SportsCar365.com.

But that doesn’t mean Aleshin will not be racing in 2015. The 27-year-old will switch to the FIA World Endurance Championship for the upcoming season, competing for SMP Racing’s LMP2 effort, according to a recent interview SMP principal Sergey Zlobin had with Russian sports website Sports.box.ru.

“It’s complicated for Mikhail to sign a contact in IndyCar this year,” Zlobin told sportsbox.ru. “It takes a lot of [resources] and he will take a hiatus, unfortunately.

“However, Mikhail will go for the top prize in the FIA WEC in LMP2, where he will pilot the [Russian] car we are building now.

“Hopefully we can win the championship with the [Russian] machine, and God willing, the economic situation will stabilize and Mikhail can go back to Indy in 2016.”

SMP won the 2014 WEC LMP2 championship and believes the addition of Aleshin will further enhance its chances of repeating with the title in 2015.

Aleshin became the first Russian driver to ever compete in the Indianapolis 500 last May, finishing 21st.

The news of Aleshin’s inability to return to IndyCar is not completely unexpected. Indianapolis Star writer Curt Cavin predicted in late November that Aleshin would not be back in an IndyCar in 2015 due to the current economic and political climate in Russia.

There is one bit of good news for Aleshin: he’s finally fully recovered from one of the worst racing crashes of his career, suffered last fall at Fontana (video below). While practicing for the season-ending IndyCar race at the two-mile Southern California track, Aleshin’s car went into a spin in Turn 4, where he was t-boned by the car of Charlie Kimball.

The impact sent Aleshin’s car up into the catch fence. He was removed from the wreckage and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition (Kimball was uninjured).

Aleshin has since recovered from his injuries he sustained in that wreck, which left him hospitalized for more than two weeks, including broken ribs, a broken right clavicle, a variety of other chest injuries and a concussion.

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IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold