Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Immigration Issues Have Mikhail Aleshin Stuck in France

By Frank Santoroski, Staff Writer

As the Verizon IndyCar Series teams are unloading at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI, a familiar face is missing. Milkail Aleshin, driver of the No. 7 Honda entry for Schmidt Peterson Racing has been unable to enter the United States following a trip to France to participate in the 24 Hours of LeMans.

Specific details about the Visa and immigration issues that are keeping Aleshin in France have not been released. The issues, however, will not be resolved in time for Aleshin to participate in Friday practice, and the team is hopeful that he will be able to resolve the problems before race day on Sunday.

The statement from the team reads:

“Since competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing last weekend, Mikhail Aleshin, driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series, has been unable to leave France due to immigration issues preventing him from returning to the United States. The executive team at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has been working diligently on Aleshin’s return to America to compete in this weekend’s KOHLER Grand Prix. However, at this time, the Russian driver will not arrive to Road America in time for any on-track sessions scheduled for Friday, June 23.”

DTM Touring Car driver, Robert Wickens, will practice Aleshin’s car until the Russian arrives at the track. Wickens was recommended by Schmidt Peterson’s driver, James Hinchcliffe, who has a long standing friendship with the fellow Canadian. If Aleshin’s immigration issues remain unresolved, Wickens may get his first Verizon IndyCar Series start on Sunday.

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A life-long racing enthusiast, Santoroski attended his first live race in 1978, the Formula One Grand Prix of the United States at Watkins Glen. Following graduation from Averett College, Santoroski covered the CART series through the 1990s and 2000s for CART Pages and Race Family Motorsports in addition to freelance writing for various print and web sources. He produces a variety of current and historical content for Motorsports Tribune and serves as the host for the weekly radio broadcast,Drafting the Circuits,