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From Watkins Win to Wesley, What a Week for Wickens

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Canadian returns home to race today to wrap up most memorable week yet

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Jeff Olson

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BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Brief overview of the week by Robert Wickens:

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A landmark victory at Watkins Glen. Head to Canada to start your week of racing when you get home. An unplanned overnight trip to Indianapolis. Become a father. Return to Canada. Try to win again.

If you’ve been wondering why he wasn’t at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Friday, there’s a great reason: Wickens and his wife Carly welcomed Wesley Joseph Wickens to the world. Wickens then returned to Canada to compete in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge today.

It’s just another chapter in Wickens’ life story that inspires him beyond the world of motorsport, even if he doesn’t see himself the way others see him.

“I don’t consider myself an inspirational person,” Wickens said earlier this week. “I’m just a guy trying to get back to what I love to do. People tell me that they think they beat cancer because of my motivation and dedication, and they thought they could do it. When people tell me their life story and what they’ve been through, it’s a crazy experience. It’s hard to explain in words.”

He is likely to hear similar stories today as he prepares for the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 at the historic track in Bowmanville, Ontario, a short drive from his childhood home. Since they did not compete in Friday’s qualifying, Wickens, co-driver Mark Wilkins and No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with a Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR start at the back of the field in a race that starts from 4th: 22:00 ET and live on Peacock (in the US), (outside the US) and IMSA Radio.

After Wickens and Wilkins teamed up to win the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 120 last week at Watkins Glen International – Wickens’ first win since returning from a 2018 crash that left him with a spinal cord injury – Wickens has once again been inspiring and motivational. race conversation.

And, as this is his first race in Canada since finishing third in the 2018 IndyCar Series in Toronto, he expects to see a lot of family, friends and fans. In his younger days, Wickens watched races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, then known as Mosport International Raceway, starting at Turn 2.

“It will definitely be a big turnout,” Wickens said. “I know I will have close friends and family there, people who haven’t seen me race since 2018 and a lot of people who haven’t seen me since I had an accident.”

While he expects attention, Wickens says he has no other expectations.

“I’m always working on not having any expectations in anything,” Wickens said. “You kind of set yourself up for failure if you expect something great. If it doesn’t, you are disappointed. But if you didn’t expect anything, you’re not disappointed.”

Returning home in 2019 after extensive rehab, Wickens found “cases and cases” containing postcards and other fan correspondence. At the time, he said he did not know the full effect of the support. Three years later, with his career back on track and victory on the doorstep, he still doesn’t know the full effect.

“It’s very humiliating,” he said. “All I can say is that motorsport fans are a great group of people. They’re very kind. Everyone in the IMSA paddock was so welcoming to me. This is a category that I did not belong to in my past life, but they accepted me with open arms. It has been a very pleasant experience so far.”


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