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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tristan Vautier Replaces Carlos Huertas Days Before 2015 Indy 500

Perhaps the strangest month of May in recent memory continues to get stranger as yet another Indianapolis 500 driver change was confirmed late on Thursday night.

Frenchman Tristan Vautier, who qualified James Davison’s No. 19 car for owner Dale Coyne with no plans to compete, will now return to the team after replacing Carlos Huertas in the No. 18 just two days prior to The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Davison was unable to qualify his car due to a Pirelli World Challenge conflict as the driver was occupied driving his AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the event at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

Vautier qualified in the 21st position and was supposed to compete in a sports car event of his own this weekend. But due to Huertas falling ill with an inner ear condition, Vautier was called back to the Circle City to compete in just his second career Indy 500 after finishing 16th for Schmidt Peterson Racing back in 2013.

To recap, Vautier qualified 21st in the No. 19 and handed that ride to Davison but ultimately will move to the No. 18 now that Huertas has withdrew his name from the seat. Both Coyne Hondas with Davison and Vautier will join Ryan Briscoe on the final row, as he was officially named the replacement for the injured James Hinchcliffe on Thursday morning.

The change is allowable by the IndyCar rule book since Vautier did qualify a car last weekend. Briscoe and Davison had to receive approval from the IndyCar front office as neither driver participated in qualifications. Briscoe was quickly approved while Davison was approved after a lengthy conversation with tour officials.

Specifically, Rule 5.1.2.2.2 states: Another Driver who has qualified for the Event may be substituted for the original Driver, provided notification is given to INDYCAR, and INDYCAR approves the substitution. No Driver substitutions will be approved during a Race after the conclusion of the parade and pace laps.

The revised starting lineup for the Indianapolis 500 can be found below.

  1. Scott Dixon
  2. Will Power
  3. Simon Pagenaud
  4. Tony Kanaan
  5. Helio Castroneves
  6. Justin Wilson
  7. Sebastien Bourdais
  8. Marco Andretti
  9. Josef Newgarden
  10. JR Hildebrand
  11. Carlos Munoz
  12. Ed Carpenter
  13. Oriol Servia
  14. Charlie Kimball
  15. Juan Pablo Montoya
  16. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  17. Graham Rahal
  18. Simona de Silvestro
  19. James Jakes
  20. Alex Tagliani
  21. Sage Karam
  22. Conor Daly
  23. Townsend Bell
  24. Takuma Sato
  25. Pippa Mann
  26. Gabby Chaves
  27. Sebastian Saavedra
  28. Jack Hawksworth
  29. Stefano Coletti
  30. Bryan Clauson
  31. Ryan Briscoe
  32. James Davison
  33. Tristan Vautier