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James Davison set to fill in for Bourdais at Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS – James Davison is set to replace Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, it has emerged Sunday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, via multiple sources to NBC Sports and also via Trackside Online.

Dale Coyne Racing is expected to make a formal confirmation of the selection later today, as the process of building up a backup car to replace Bourdais’ trashed primary car continues.

“First off, my thoughts are with Sebastien and Claire Bourdais. This is never the way a driver wants to secure an opportunity. But, of course, it’s the tough game we’re in,” Davison told NBC Sports about subbing for Bourdais. “I certainly am appreciative of getting the call up. I’ve done the “500,” last with (Dale Coyne Racing) two years ago and we had a competitive run, which no doubt helped secure this opportunity.”

Dale Coyne Racing now faces an uphill challenge to prepare its backup car, which is still in road course trim, and Davison was careful not to set any expectations. “We’re in a compromised situation with what time and equipment we have to work with now. But, we’re just going to do the best we can as a team and secure the best result for Sebastien and our sponsors, GEICO, Vibra Healthcare, and Cruz Associates,” he added.

Dale Coyne Racing team manager Darren Crouser confirmed to NBC Sports that Davison has a seat made and will bring it to Indianapolis from the team’s Illinois-based shop.

The Australian driver has made two prior Indianapolis 500 starts with KV Racing Technology in 2014 and with Coyne in 2015, both in partnership with Always Evolving Racing, with his most recent start with Coyne coming under similar abnormal circumstances that year.

Tristan Vautier qualified Davison’s No. 19 Always Evolving Racing Honda that year while Davison was competing in Pirelli World Challenge competition away from the IMS race both on qualifying weekend and the Saturday before the race.

However, a bizarre series of circumstances occurred whereby Vautier also got to race. Carlos Huertas was not medically cleared to drive and Vautier, who qualified one car, was moved over to the other car, the No. 18 car while Davison raced the No. 19 car. The bizarre situation continued when the two cars then collided in the pits together on race day.

This leaves Stefan Wilson high and dry, the Englishman having emerged as the sentimental favorite for the seat at a team where his late brother Justin Wilson achieved so much success and the team’s first win at Watkins Glen in 2009. The younger Wilson was en route to the Coyne garage.

Others such as Matthew Brabham were seen in Gasoline Alley this morning.

This story, like Davison’s sponsor in recent years, is always evolving.

Tempers flare as Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais collide at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — A multicar crash with just over 20 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 had tempers flaring Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Graham Rahal angrily confronted Sebastien Bourdais after the two collided while racing for position entering the third turn. As they spun beside each other, Rahal threw his hands up in the air and continued to gesture wildly at Bourdais as their cars came to a stop.

Rahal scrambled out of his car and went directly to Bourdais’ cockpit to scream at the driver before the safety crew arrived. Rahal then yanked off his gloves and threw them in his car after punching the air a few times.

The crash began after Bourdais’ left rear tire hit Rahal’s right front as they entered the corner and Bourdais seemed to come down on Rahal’s line.

“I’m just very disappointed,” Rahal told NBC Sports after being released from the care center. “It’s just another year to sit and think about it. I respect Sebastien as a driver, but I don’t respect that move.

“At those speeds, that’s how you kill somebody. I’m just not a fan of squeezing and putting people in those positions.”

Bourdais climbed out of his car shortly afterward and seemed unhurt. He was cited for avoidable contact by the IndyCar stewards and seemed somewhat remorseful about the move in an interview with NBC Sports.

“I didn’t think he had as much of the car as he did,” Bourdais said. “It’s always a dynamic thing. He got a run, it stalled there for a while, we made contact, and it sets up the whole thing. At that point. I’m just trying to collect the whole thing. It’s always easy to say I should have given up going into the corner.”

Rahal and Bourdais were former teammates at Newman-Haas Raccing.

“He’s been struggling all day,” Rahal said. “I was lifting a little bit to manage my gap. You can see him squeezing me and turns into me, and there nothing you can do. With 20 to go, you have to go. I think Sebastien knows that, which is probably why he hasn’t said much to me.”

The race was red-flagged at 3:17 p.m. on Lap 180 of 200 to clean up the debris from the multicar pileup.