January 28, 2010

Nationwide: Patrick schedule announced

JR Motorsports has announced Danica Patrick's 12-race Nationwide schedule. She has not yet been approved to run at Daytona in that series but could still be entered if she performs well in the ARCA Daytona event. Her first scheduled race will be at Auto Club Speedway on 2/20/2010 followed immediately by the event at Las Vegas the following week. Then she will take a break to concentrate on her IndyCar responsibilities and return to stock car competition at New Hampshire in June.

The remainder of her schedule includes Chicagoland, Michigan, Dover, the fall Auto Club race, Charlotte, Gateway, Texas, Phoenix (her hometown) and Homestead.

Our View The majority of these events are held on unrestricted, intermediate speedways, which gives her a chance to focus on the skill set requited to go fast on that track type.

Patrick's transition to the heavy stockers will be a challenging one, but with JR Motorsports equipment at her disposal, she could be a better value than many anticipate.

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F1: USF1 announces first driver in lineup

Argentine Jose Marie Lopez has been named as the first driver in the USF1 lineup for 2010, according to ESPN.com.

Our View Eventually, the team wants to hire American drivers and give them an opportunity to race, but until then they are creating opportunities nonetheless: Lopez has logged 6,000 test miles with Renault.

Lopez will become the 24th Argentine in Formula 1and the first since Gaston Mazzacane ran in April 2001.

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F1: Schumacher ready for return

Michael Schumacher feels "great emotion" while preparing for his return to Formula 1, according to ESPN.com. He will return in a Mercedes in 2010 to end a three-year retirement.

Our View Don't expect Schumacher to have any rust after three years, however; he will be one of the strongest drivers in F1 fantasy racing.

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Trucks: Piquet to warm-up in South America and South Africa

Nelson Piquet Jr. will get a little stock car experience in the next few days before heading to the United States to debut in the Craftsman Truck Series, according to ESPN.com.

Our View Piquet will run at Brazil's Interlagos in a 1,000 endurance race and then head to South Africa to compete in the American Speed Association's Transcontinental Series Free State 500 on the paved Phakisa Freeway Circuit oval. Several top short track racers will be in attendance, so he will have some strong competition.

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IRL: George shuts down team

Tony George continues to distance himself from the league he created and that recently ousted him as its president. According to ESPN.com, he is shutting down his IRL race team, Vision Racing.

Our View In a league that has never had stunning car counts to begin with, it is unfortunate to lose any team. Last year, however, George's driver Ed Carpenter was hardly a fixture on anyone's race league.

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Several NASCAR drivers highlight Rolex 24 entry list

Six active NASCAR drivers will add some stock car spice to this weekend's Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona DP roster. Max Papis will be in Chip Ganassi's No. 01 car, DEI teammates Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray will also team up in the Ganassi No. 02, A.J. Allmendinger will run the No. 6 Michael Shanks entry, Paul Menard is in the No. 90 Porsche Coyote and Jimmie Johnson will team with Alex Gurney and Jimmy Vasser in Wayne Taylor's No. 99.

Our View While this has no direct correlation to NASCAR races at Daytona or even on the road courses—since the Daytona Prototypes are distinct from the stock cars—track time is always helpful.

Complete Daytona Prototype entry list
Complete Grand Touring entry list

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Montoya, McMurray test at Walt Disney World

Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray tested at Walt Disney World Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to NASCAR.com. No times were released.

Our View This gives these two drivers a chance to work on their chemistry and determine if they like the same things in cars. Whether that is the case, simply testing should make them better teammates.

They will also get a chance to race together in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

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