IndyCar Series rookie James Davison exceeded expectations on his debut run with Dale Coyne Racing to 15th place at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 4, but was unsure if he'd get a second chance to pilot the team's No. 18 Sonny's BBQ entry this season.
A late call from Coyne to test the car at Sonoma Raceway tomorrow and to make his second start for the team was received by the Aussie on Tuesday, which is everything the promising 26-year-old was hoping for.
"I'm excited to be back in the Sonny's car at Sonoma,” he told RACER. “Mid-Ohio was a solid debut that I came out of pleased and having learned quite a lot. With some experience now under my belt and the added confidence that goes with it, I must aim to go another step forward this weekend. Finishing the race again will be most important."
It looked like former Barracuda Racing driver Alex Tagliani was close to driving for Coyne at Sonoma, but it's believed the French-Canadian was not keen on making a hasty sprint toward to the West Coast for a one-off drive. For Davison, a young driver in need of all the exposure he can get, having less than 24 hours to get ready for the drive wasn't a limiting factor.
During a season that has been somewhat normal, Coyne's spin-the-wheel-of-drivers routine in the No. 18 has provided plenty of interest most weekends. The second DCR entry was piloted by Brazil's Ana Beatriz through the first five races of the season, but since the series departed the Indy 500, the Honda-powered No. 18 has featured a revolving cast of drivers.
England's Mike Conway, who turned 30 on Monday, took the reins at Belle Isle, scoring a win and a third-place finish at the Dual in Detroit double-header. Pippa Mann drove for Coyne at Texas, but an early engine failure left the Briton 24th. Beatriz returned for Milwaukee and Iowa, finishing 19th and 22nd, Mann claimed 15th at Pocono, Conway earned a fighting pair of sevenths at the Toronto double-header, Davison came home 15th at Mid-Ohio and Japanese rookie Ryo Hirakawa even tested the No. 19 at Sonoma last week, posting impressive times. But with Hirakawa's funding having run short to return for the race, a perfect scenario materialized for Davison and Coyne to continue for a second consecutive event.
After Sonoma, the Coyne team has Stefan Wilson scheduled in the No. 18 for Baltimore, Conway for Houston and Mann for the season finale at Fontana.