It's a safe bet that rookie Simon Pagenaud will never forget this week's visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Doing the typically insane 200 mph, Pagenaud hit a bird, which caused a sizable dent in the grill protecting the radiator.

"I saw the birds, but I didn't know [I hit one]," Pagenaud said. "I didn't even know it was in the car. I just thought they flew away."

It's doubtful the wayward bird, rest his [or her] soul, ever knew what hit him [or her]. Pagenaud's crew needed 20 minutes to fix the damage.

Pagenaud, a 27-year-old Frenchman who has a home in Indianapolis, is fifth in the IndyCar points race with six top-three finishes. The Indy 500 is Sunday, May 27.

Run, run, run

Britain's Eddie Izzard has come up with a very unique and exhausting way to honor Nelson Mandela's greatest sacrifice.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison at the hands of South Africa's government for fighting its apartheid principles. He was released in 1990 and was the driving force behind bringing democracy to his country. Mandela turns 94 in July.

Izzard, a long-distance runner and comedian/actor, will run the distance of a marathon everyday for 27 days. He hopes the 707-mile journey will raise donations for Mandela's foundation. Three years ago, Izzard ran 1,100 miles in 7 weeks for charity.

This and that

Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, the Wes Welker of his day, has joined the USFL as a football operations consultant. This is the second-greatest day for the reborn league. The first was winning that $3.76 million lawsuit against the NFL in 1990 …Speaking of the NFL, the league is scouting out replacement referees since a deal with the current group has yet to be reached. The league is calling it a "contingency plan," rather than an ominous sign. Is any commissioner having a rougher 2012 than Roger Goodell? … Love Miami Heat public-address announcer Michael Baiamonte's call that New York's Amare Stoudemire was "extinguished from the game" when he fouled out on Tuesday. Stoudemire had an unfortunate run-in with some fire-fighting apparatus after a loss earlier in the series. It's disappointing that the Heat are apologizing for the crack … Think Elin chuckles every time Tiger misses a cut?

Contact Ed Barkowitz at barkowe@phillynews.com