Simon Pagenaud has been drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Simona de Silvestro at HVM Racing for today's opening IndyCar practice session at Sonoma after the Swiss driver encountered problems while attempting to re-enter the U.S. from her homeland.
De Silvestro traveled back to Switzerland after testing at Infineon Raceway last week, but struck what the team described as "a technical issue with CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection]" when she attempted to return.
Pagenaud will take over the No. 78 entry for free practice, and will remain in the car until de Silvestro is able to get back into the cockpit.
"It's an unfortunate situation," says HVM team owner Keith Wiggins. "We could never have imagined this kind of an issue going into a race weekend and it just adds more challenges to our 2011 season, but it's in the team's best interest to continue our program.
"We're lucky to have another world-class driver like Simon Pagenaud who's willing to step up and work with us to achieve a successful result."