(Photo: Christian Koelle)

Zachary Claman De Melo Replacing Pietro Fittipaldi in INDYCAR Grand Prix

Zachary Claman De Melo will replace the injured Pietro Fittipaldi in this weekend’s INDYCAR Grand Prix, Dale Coyne Racing announced on Thursday (May 10). Claman De Melo will pilot the No. 19 Paysafe Honda for the third time this season.

Fittipaldi was slated to make his second Verizon IndyCar Series start on Saturday. The Brazilian driver was involved in this crash during qualifying for the FIA World Endurance Championship event at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on May 4.

A broken left leg and right ankle have resulted in Fittipaldi being sidelined for at least the next eight weeks. As of this writing, Fittipaldi is still in the hospital in Liège, Belgium, but recovering.

Claman De Melo was slated to make his next start for Dale Coyne Racing next month in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. Fittipaldi’s replacement(s) for the Indianapolis 500 and Texas Motor Speedway will be announced at a later date.

“I’m extremely excited to get to race at the INDYCAR Grand Prix this weekend aboard the No. 19 Paysafe car, but I’m sad that it’s under these circumstances,” said Claman De Melo. “My thoughts are first and foremost with Pietro (Fittipaldi), you never want to see that happen to a competitor, much less a teammate.”

“Getting to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is always special. I enjoyed racing there in Indy Lights and I can’t wait to now get a chance to drive there aboard an Indy car. It’s a fun track with some good passing opportunities which means it should be a good show for the fans. Hopefully, we can turn our luck around and come out of the weekend with a good result.”

Claman De Melo has made four starts in the Verizon IndyCar Series with a best finish of 17th twice (Sonoma in 2017 and St. Petersburg in 2018). He has raced on the Indianapolis G.P. circuit four times in the Indy Lights Series with a best finish of second last season.

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Christian Koelle returns to Frontstretch in 2020 as the photo editor at Frontstretch. He will continue to contribute content in the ARCA Menards Series, Sioux Chief Challenge, and ARCA East & West Series. He is also engaged and will be getting married during the 2020 NASCAR off-season.

His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway.

During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.

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