INDIANAPOLIS – Helio Castroneves will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for next weekend’s Harvest GP presented by GMR, but he will not be driving for Team Penske.
Castroneves, who has driven for Team Penske since 2000, will take over the No. 7 Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren SP for next weekend’s doubleheader, subbing for rookie Oliver Askew.
Askew, the team’s regular driver, was forced to withdraw from next weekend’s action because of a medical issue. He was ruled not fit to drive by the IndyCar Medical Team because of a balance and coordination issue he began to experience after the recent Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio doubleheader on Sept. 12-13.
According to Arrow McLaren SP, that issue triggered an examination from the IndyCar Medical Team. As a result, Askew is not medically cleared to race and is subject to IndyCar’s Return to Racing protocol.
“This was an incredibly tough call, but I have to follow the advice of the IndyCar Medical Team and my doctors. My priority right now is focusing on my health,” Askew said. “Despite not being in the car, I will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest GP, giving whatever insight and support to Arrow McLaren SP that I can.”
Castroneves will join fellow driver Pato O’Ward at Arrow McLaren SP next week at Indianapolis.
“First and foremost, we wish Oliver the best and that he is able to take time to recover,” Castroneves said. “I look forward to getting back on track and helping to build on the great progress that Arrow McLaren SP has made this year.”
Castroneves has 30 Indy car victories, including six in CART and 24 with the NTT IndyCar Series. He is a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, all with Team Penske.
The last time Castroneves competed in an Indy car for a team other than Team Penske was the 1999 CART season-finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Oct. 31, 1999.
Castroneves drove for Hogan Racing that season but replaced the late Greg Moore at Team Penske the following season after Moore was killed in that race at Fontana. That was just one day after Moore was announced as one of two new drivers at Team Penske for 2000.
The other was Gil de Ferran, who would go on to win the 2000 and 2001 CART championships and the Indianapolis 500 in 2003 for Team Penske.
Team co-owner Sam Schmidt said the decision to have Askew sit out was difficult, but noted the 23-year-old must treat his mysterious balance and coordination issue.
“The welfare of Oliver, our team members and fellow competitors is paramount,” Schmidt said. “We therefore support Oliver and the decision of INDYCAR. Withdrawing to focus on his health and recovery is the right thing to do.”