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Chaves, Harding impress with top five at Texas

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One of the newest teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series is quickly making a name for itself as a surprise contender.

Harding Racing, owned by Indiana businessman Mike Harding (has a technical partnership with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing and shares its shop), with IndyCar veteran Larry Curry serving as team manager and competition director, had not contested a race prior to this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Yet, with two races now on their resume, Harding Racing’s No. 88 Chevrolet, in the hands of 23-year-old Gabby Chaves, is making its presence felt.

The two races the team has contested, the aforementioned Indy 500 and Saturday’s Rainguard Water Sealers 600 from Texas Motor Speedway, saw a combined 20 caution periods (11 at Indianapolis, nine at Texas) for various incidents, with Saturday’s race in Texas especially filled with carnage.

Yet, in both races, Chaves survived the chaos to not only bring the No. 88 entry home in one piece, but in strong finishing positions. A ninth-place at Indianapolis was buoyed by a fifth-place run at Texas on Saturday night, completing a remarkable opening pair of races for the young outfit.

Chaves detailed after Texas that the reasons behind their success are actually quite simple: they’ve had solid preparation and have stayed out of trouble.

“We did what we had to do. We kept our nose clean. We had a solid car. I think before the accidents, we were inside the top 12. We had great Chevy power until the end, and just made the passes when we had to. Just really proud of the team effort,” Chaves said of Saturday night’s result.

Though the team is searching for sponsors and partners to secure a planned full-season effort in 2018, their third and final scheduled race of 2017 will be the ABC Supply 500 (August 20, NBCSN) at Pocono.

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Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

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