Zachary Claman Demelo will return to race full-time in Indy Lights in 2019

IndyCar
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Unable to secure a full-time IndyCar ride for 2019, 20-year-old Canadian driver Zachary Claman Demelo said Tuesday that he will return to compete in the Indy Lights Series, according to IndyCar.com.

Claman Demelo, who led seven laps in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 and drove nine races for Dale Coyne Racing last season, has signed to race in the 2019 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season for Belardi Auto Racing.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Zachary’s caliber of talent join our lineup at Belardi Auto Racing for the 2019 Indy Lights season,” team owner Brian Belardi said in a media release. “The experience he brings from not only the IndyCar Series, but as a race-winning driver in the Indy Lights category will really pay off, and I personally am excited to see where the team goes this year.”

Claman Demelo has 34 prior Indy Lights starts on his racing resume, including a win in 2017 at Road America.

With significant movement of drivers in and out of the series following the 2018 campaign, Claman Demelo feels his chances of contending for the championship and the series’ $1.1 million scholarship prize are good.

“I am very excited to be joining Belardi Auto Racing for the upcoming season,” Claman Demelo said. “The team has a great track record for being very competitive and for getting drivers to IndyCar and keeping them there.

“Being back in Indy Lights will be good for my development as a driver and as a competitor. But my only goal going into this season is to win the championship.”

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Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”