Race Weekend Central

Social Media Abuse Was ‘Consuming’ Agustin Canapino

ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. — After the autograph session Friday (June 7) afternoon at Road America, Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) had a difficult decision to make regarding its driver lineup.

Social media fallout after an on-track incident at last week’s IndyCar Series race on the streets of Detroit between Agustin Canapino and Theo Pourchaire led to many angry messages which included death threats and other abuse for Pourchaire’s contact with Canapino as the pair headed to turn 3 on lap 60.

Even a week later the ripple effect of this contact is still spreading.

When the autograph session at Road America concluded, Canapino left the circuit as the team announced that Indy NXT driver Nolan Siegel would be competing in the No. 78 Chevrolet for Sunday’s XPEL Grand Prix instead of the Argentinian.

See also
Nolan Siegel Replacing Agustin Canapino at Road America

“It was obviously building up all week and then we got to the point where we had to make a decision,” said JHR Team Principal Dave O’Neill. “The main catalyst was the abuse that Canapino was getting over social media. So it was building up during the week and we came to a point where it was consuming him and he was looking like he was having a big weight on his back and he’s an employee, so we took a decision to help him, help the team.”

Numerous insults flew all over social media following the contact. Pourchaire received death threats, both JHR and Arrow McLaren released a joint statement condemning the abuse then Canapino followed up with a statement of his own which seemed to downplay any comments directed at Pourchaire.

“I have not seen a single death threat directed at those who claim to have received them,” Canapino’s statement reads. “From lsat year to today, no one in their right mind would do such a thing. It’s outrageous to be accused of this so lightly, and I won’t allow it any more. If anyone did this, they are not part of us, and we don’t deserve to be consider [sic] this way because of some misfit we strongly reject.

“I constantly receive abuse and hate, and I have learned to live with it as many people do, choosing to ignore it. There’s nothing sadder and more miserable than hiding behind social media to insult others.”

Over the course of the last week, Canapino has liked several social media posts that made light of the threats made against Pourchaire, including one calling him ‘Callum Pourchaire,’ referring to former JHR teammate Callum Ilott who twice had death threats lobbed at him while the pair were teammates in 2023.

While the Indy NXT field was practicing during the IndyCar autograph session, JHR inquired if Siegel was available to take over the No. 78 for the rest of the race weekend. During the practice session, Siegel made his way to the JHR area of the paddock and was still getting fitted into the car as the session began.

The California native was perhaps the best choice available during the weekend. Siegel has some previous IndyCar experience, racing at the non-points event at The Thermal Club and also at Long Beach, and the fact that he had an IndyCar seat available in the paddock was an added benefit.

Siegel ended the first practice session 26th out of 27 cars with a fastest lap of 1:45.1027. That effort was 1.9318 seconds slower than session leader Alex Palou‘s fastest lap.

See also
2024 IndyCar XPEL Grand Prix at Road America Preview

Given that Siegel had no preparation time with the team before the weekend and was basically tossed into the deep end, the fact that he was just over a tenth of a second behind Jack Harvey‘s 25th-place time is impressive.

“On track, I think the session went really well,” Siegel said. “We had no issues going through what we wanted to get through. I made progress every outing. I was being super conservative. Getting thrown into this is not the easiest thing. It’s also not an easy track to just go out and push hard from the beginning. This track is super high commitment and super-fast, so I took my time to get up to speed. I feel it went smoothly and now we have a good base to work off.

“Now, I feel like we can get the weekend going properly. I can meet everyone as I only had like 15 minutes to get ready to do this. It’s not an easy situation but really happy to be here and excited to be working with the team.”

The goal for Siegel is to get to the finish of the race. He has withdrawn from the Indy NXT race on Sunday in order to focus on his effort in the XPEL Grand Prix. Nothing has been decided on about whether or not Canapino will come back following the Road America weekend.

“That, that’s too, that’s too early to talk about,” O’Neill said. “Our current plan is Agustin’s out for this weekend, Siegel’s in, and that’s where we are as a team. We haven’t moved forward, sideways, or back ways.”

About the author

Christopher DeHarde has covered IndyCar racing and the Road to Indy for various outlets since 2014. In addition to open wheel racing, DeHarde has also covered IMSA and various short track racing events around Indiana. Originally from New Orleans, DeHarde moved to the Indianapolis area in 2017 to further pursue a career as a motorsports writer.

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Carlos

Al terminar la carrera Herta hizo un comentario en primera persona q es agresivo, intimatorio, amenazante y muy peligroso, x q está a metros de los agredidos. Pero a Canapino lo culpan x algo q dicen sus Fans( a quienes confunden con trolls y nada más alejado)

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