More birthdays: Aldo Andretti, Bourdais, Hawksworth, Bachelart, Minassian, Leitzinger, Liddell

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February 28 marks a busy day for birthdays beyond Mario Andretti, who turns 75 today. Mario’s twin brother Aldo – often overlooked – also turns 75 today.

Two current members of the Verizon IndyCar Series grid have their birthdays today, as well.

Sebastien Bourdais, the four-time Champ Car champion and current driver of the No. 11 Hydroxycut Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet, turns 36. He’ll be back for his second season with KVSH Racing this year, and his 11th overall in North America since coming over as a then-24-year-old rookie in 2003.

Speaking of 24-year-olds, that’s how old Jack Hawksworth turns today. The Englishman enters his fourth season in North America, and second in IndyCar, now driving the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda for A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Hawksworth was presented with a birthday cake adorned with the ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers logo during the premiere of “Focus” last night.

Two former IndyCar drivers who have since moved into other arenas of the sport have birthdays today, as well.

Eric Bachelart, a two-time Indianapolis 500 starter and former Indy Lights champion who went on to have a successful career as team owner of Conquest Racing, turns 54 today. Conquest most recently ran the development project of the new Dallara IL15 Indy Lights chassis.

Bourdais’ countryman Nicolas Minassian, who achieved some success in Formula 3000 and briefly drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing before embarking on a highly successful sports car career, turns 42. The Frenchman is expected to continue with SMP Racing, as that team shifts ts focus from the FIA World Endurance Championship to the European Le Mans Series in 2015.

One of North America’s more underrated sports car drivers, Pennsylvania native Butch Leitzinger, also has his birthday today – he turns 46. Leitzinger will be in the No. 20 Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge this season.

Scottish sports car ace Robin Liddell also has a birthday today – he’s now 41 – and drives for Stevenson Motorsports in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

We wish them all happy birthdays.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”