Photo: Dana Garrett/INDYCAR

Saavedra In, Aleshin Out for Toronto

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Sebastian Saavedra returns to the Verizon IndyCar Series to pilot the No. 7 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto.

Mikhail Aleshin, the usual full-time driver of the entry, will sit on the sidelines but be on hand for “support” according to a team release.

Gary Peterson, owner and longtime supporter of Saavedra, will have his AFS Racing branding joining the No. 7 Lucas Oil SPM Honda. The move also reunites the Colombian with former Indy Lights race engineer Blair Perschbacher.

Saavedra only other outing this season was in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May with Juncos Racing, finishing 15th.

The team has remained quiet as to why the change is happening, but the season hasn’t been the smoothest for Aleshin.

The Russian sits 16th in the standings and has yet to post a top five finish this season. Two race weekends ago at Road America, DTM driver and Canadian Robert Wickens enjoyed a Friday behind the wheel of the No. 7 after it was learned that Aleshin had immigration issues. However, he returned for Saturday and Sunday duties. Aleshin also crashed out from fourth position last weekend at Iowa.

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.