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.