Kansas Speedway set to increase security after Boston tragedy

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If you’re heading out to the NASCAR races this weekend at Kansas Speedway, you can expect heightened levels of security following Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.

“People might notice a little bit of an increased police presence or something else, which is normal after an event like this,” track president Pat Warren told Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News. “But there will also be things they don’t see. What I would ask from our fans is to have patience when they’re at the gate, patience when they’re in the parking lot.

“Obviously, we’ll check bags, we check coolers, everything that we normally do. But if it takes a little bit longer this weekend, I hope people understand why that’s the case.”

Kansas is hosting both the Sprint Cup Series (STP 400, Sunday) and the Camping World Truck Series (SFP 250, Saturday) this weekend, with CWTS practice beginning the proceedings on Friday morning.

Warren would not go into specific details of his track’s security plan, saying that “we don’t want to share that information with people who want to do something bad.” However, Pockrass reports that Warren said his facility would not add metal detectors or change its existing gate policies. Soft-sided coolers up to 14x14x14 inches and school-size backpacks are among the list of items that fans are allowed to bring in, while firearms, sheath knives and fireworks are among those that aren’t.

Kansas Speedway opened in 2001 and can seat more than 81,000 people.

Plans for Alonso sports car debut in Rolex 24 gathering speed

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Plans for McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso to appear in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona are gathering speed as the two-time World Champion angles for a drive at Le Mans in 2018.

Alonso announced on Thursday he had signed a new, multi-year deal to remain with McLaren in F1, but has left the door open to continue his pursuit of the Triple Crown of Motorsport and become just the second driver in history to complete it.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice and made his Indianapolis 500 debut this year, retiring with an engine issue, and has made no secret of his ambition to race at Le Mans one day.

With no date clashes, the possibility exists for Alonso to race at Le Mans in 2018, potentially with Toyota in the LMP1 class following McLaren’s split with Honda.

However, Alonso could make his 24-hour race debut five months earlier, with reports emerging on Thursday that he could be in line to appear in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

First reported by Sportscar365, Alonso could be set to race for McLaren executive director Zak Brown’s team, United Autosports, at Daytona in January, with no clashes existing with his F1 commitments.

Alonso remained coy when asked about the chances of him appearing at Daytona, but admitted additional preparation for a possible Le Mans appearance would be of interest.

“For the Indy 500 it was a nice experience, I felt very competitive but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, from no testing, not any similar race before it,” Alonso said, as quoted by Reuters.

“If I want to prepare Le Mans, maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better than I prepared the Indy 500.”

He added more about his other race program in Thursday’s pre-race Paddock Pass episode, speaking to NBCSN. “To be the best driver in the world you have to win in different series at different times. It’s possible I can compete in different races next year,” he said.

Brown said he would be happy to field Alonso at Daytona, and confirmed their pair had already loosely discussed it.

“If Fernando wants to do Daytona and we have a seat available, we would put his name on it happily,” Brown said.

“We’ve started joking around about it, and we saw where jokes got us last time,” he added, referencing the eventual entry to the Indy 500.

United Autosports will field two JS P217 cars at Daytona in January, and has already confirmed ex-F1 racer Paul di Resta, McLaren junior Lando Norris, American endurance racer Will Owen and Danish youngster Philip Hanson in seats.

McLaren reserve and 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button had been linked with a drive for United Autosports at Daytona, but Brown confirmed to Sportscar365 this was no longer an option.

“Jenson won’t be driving for us. I don’t know what he’s going to be doing,” Brown said.

“I thought he was going to be in the Penske car. Not sure what happened there.”