Chaves to fill in for Aleshin at Phoenix test

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Gabby Chaves’ time out of the cockpit from a Verizon IndyCar Series car will come to a temporary end this week.

NBC Sports learned that Chaves will substitute for Mikhail Aleshin, who is unable to attend this week’s two-day Verizon IndyCar Series test at Phoenix International Raceway, the Test in the West. The team has confirmed the news this afternoon, confirming it was work visa issues for Aleshin.

“While we wish Mikhail was able to participate in this test with us, we’re confident that he’ll get up to speed quickly when he returns,” said SPM General Manager Piers Phillips.

“Gabby had a solid rookie season and we appreciate his willingness to step up quickly for this important test. We have high expectations for SPM’s 2016 season and our goal is to use these test days at PIR to set us up for success.”

While Chaves was an unfortunate casualty of the partnership announcement between Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport last week, he told NBC Sports this morning he is determined to keep fighting and working on every potential opportunity to race going forward.

The two-day fill-in role in the No. 7 SMP Racing Honda will reunite Chaves with the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, where he competed in Indy Lights in 2013.