File this one under the “this wasn’t expected to be announced and kind of stinks for one driver but is really good news for another one” department.
Gabby Chaves will replace Luca Filippi in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda at Dale Coyne Racing for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, the team announced late Wednesday.
It will see the defending series and Indianapolis 500 rookie-of-the-year back for his first Verizon IndyCar Series races this season. He tested with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the spring, filling in for Mikhail Aleshin who had visa issues.
“What can I say, I’m really excited. It’s been the longest off-season of my life,” Chaves said in a release.
“Throughout my whole career I’ve always been on the grid in the first race of the season and this has been the first time that I haven’t. I thought I had many deals in place before and for some reason or another it never came through.
“I’ve been speaking with Dale for years now and I’m excited to get something going with him and the team. I’m just really looking forward to it. With my time out of the car, I’ve really been able to value what it means to me to be in a race car. I can now get back on track and enjoy it even more.”
Team owner Coyne added, “We’re very excited to have Gabby join us for the next two races, we’ve been in communication for a long time and it’s all finally come together. He showed a lot of maturity last season, he was quick, mistake-free and made great decisions behind the wheel that you don’t normally see coming from a rookie. We look forward to seeing what he can do in our No. 19 car.”
Filippi posted a best result of 17th in the first four races this season and ranked last among full-time drivers in points.