Ryan Briscoe (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda), Pippa Mann (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) and Tristan Vautier (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) will complete the lineup to the 23-car field for this weekend’s Firestone 600, Round 9 of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, their teams have confirmed on Tuesday.
Briscoe and Mann will each be making their second starts of the season, after making their first start with their respective teams in the Indianapolis 500.
In Briscoe’s case, he’ll be returning to the U.S. from Le Mans, where he tested this past weekend for Corvette Racing in anticipation of his second 24 Hours of Le Mans start.
He’ll be one of the team’s Corvette C7.Rs in the GTE-Pro class, and will head back to Europe after completing the race on Saturday night. Conor Daly is the frontrunner to be back in the No. 5 car at Toronto, while Briscoe competes at Le Mans June 13-14.
Mann will switch from the No. 63 Susan G. Komen-backed entry into the No. 18; she follows Carlos Huertas, Rocky Moran Jr., Conor Daly, Rodolfo Gonzalez, and Vautier as drivers of that car this season.
Vautier, meanwhile will be in for his third straight weekend with Coyne, for his fourth race start. Vautier is coming off an impressive fourth place finish in Detroit this past weekend.
The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.
The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.
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Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.
He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.
“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”
It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).