Dreyer & Reinbold Racing general manager Larry Curry says Tomas Scheckter's "small learning curve" was the determining factor in offering the veteran IZOD IndyCar Series driver the No. 22 seat for the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Scheckter, who has competed for the team on ovals, will fill in for Justin Wilson, who suffered a stable burst fracture of the fifth thoracic vertebra during a single-car practice session incident Aug. 6 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger said Wilson will be treated with a back brace. He will be out of the car for at least three months.
"Obviously, I have a little bit of a backache, but I'm just frustrated to not be at the racetrack," said Wilson, who was released today from an Indianapolis hospital. "I think that we just started to get our season turned around and the car was really good at Mid-Ohio and I'm disappointed about that. I know that I'm going to miss the ovals and I think we've found some good stuff that was going to help our oval performance.
"So I'm just disappointed to not be the car, but my back is the most important thing. I'm going to try and get that to heal and get back to 100 percent as soon as possible and get back in the car. Also, the response has been incredible and it's really nice to see that rather it's on Twitter from the fans, or drivers and ex-drivers. Everyone has been really supportive, so thank you to all of them."
Curry said team co-owners Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl haven't selected a driver for the No. 22 car past New Hampshire. There are three road/street courses and two oval races following the event on the 1-mile speedway.
"We are talking about a lot of things on how we want to approach the rest of the year with the three road courses," Curry said. "The next time we see our trucks in Indy will be after Labor Day, and then we only have four days to have the stuff ready for Japan. So we have to make some decisions quickly for the Infineon test."
Scheckter, 30, has 116 IZOD IndyCar Series starts (two victories, 44 top-10 finishes) -- the most recently in the Indianapolis 500 when he advanced 13 positions relative to his 21st starting position. He has made 14 starts with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
"Even though we get that extra run time there Thursday (practice day), we have to cut to the chase fast," Curry said. "We know him and he knows us, and it will take him only two or three laps to know what he needs out of the car and how we can adjust it.
"It was more of a choice based on who was available and who we had a relationship with. That was pretty simple actually."