Ohio State student Patrick Gallagher to wear Buckeye helmet at Mid-Ohio race

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Livery design by Andy Blackmore. Photo credits: CJ Wilson Racing

The Ohio State University will be in action this weekend, but not for any spring tune-ups ahead of the 2013 Buckeyes football season.

In one of the more innovative link-ups in racing in recent years, Ohio State student and Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup driver Patrick Gallagher will wear a Buckeye helmet this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Gallagher, 20, is a junior mechanical engineering major at Ohio State, and a full-time driver for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher CJ Wilson in the No. 28 MAZDASPEED Motorsports CJ Wilson Racing MX-5 car.

The helmet was created by the talented livery designer Andy Blackmore and was finished and delivered being hand painted by Tyler Cenarusa of Censport Graphics. The retail value of this one-off helmet is approximately $3000.

It will be signed and auctioned immediately after the event with all funds benefiting the Hematosis and Thrombosis Center at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

The race track and university are nearly inextricably linked for Gallagher, a native of Thornville, Ohio.

“While my mom was pregnant with me she was watching my dad race from the Keyhole (Turn 2 at Mid-Ohio),” said Gallagher. “After the race, they went home and a few hours later I was born. It’s a cool story but I wish I was actually born at the track – that would have been pretty awesome.”

“I am thrilled to have the support of The Ohio State University and the opportunity to wear the school colors on a unique helmet design,” he added. “To have the support of so many people from such a large school like Ohio State is an incredible feeling. We will be looking to score a win for the whole OSU group!”

Wilson put the pressure on for the weekend. The online auction begins today, June 10, with more information available at www.cjwilsonracing.com, www.leftylefty.com, and on the CJ Wilson Racing Facebook page.

“A great thing about racing is we have an opportunity to recruit from across the country and showcase partnerships locally at each event. With Patrick being an Ohio State student, partnering with the school, for the Mid-Ohio round, while showcasing the work of the charity, will be awesome.  Now all he has to do is set pole, and win the races or he will never hear the end of it from the crew.”

Gallagher, who won MAZDASPEED’s Club Racing scholarship to compete in this year’s MX-5 Cup series, enters the doubleheader weekend June 15-16 in fifth place in the series points standings. He has a best finish of second, set last race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.

WATCH: Red Bull GRC opener at Memphis, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on NBC

Photo: Louis Yio/Red Bull Content Pool
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Red Bull Global Rallycross kicks its 2017 season off with its first tip to Memphis, on a 1.18-mile “roval” course this weekend.

Coverage airs Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC for the high-intensity rallycross championship. Toby Moody, Anders Krohn and Will Christien have the call.

Scott Speed looks to open his 2017 season strong in pursuit of his third straight championship with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, but teammate Tanner Foust and strong factory efforts from Honda and Subaru are poised to upset him and the VW Andretti team.

Besides the Supercars, GRC Lites also open their 2017 season at Memphis. That coverage airs on Tuesday, May 2, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

IndyCar Paddock Pass: Phoenix (VIDEO)

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – The NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass is back for NBCSN’s third Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season, the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix (tonight, 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN) from Phoenix International Raceway.

NBCSN IndyCar and Indy Lights reporter and IndyCar’s “Up to Speed” host Katie Hargitt fills in for Anders Krohn this weekend. She checks in with the following drivers in this weekend’s episode:

  • With Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who won at Barber.
  • With JR Hildebrand, driver of the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, back this week after missing Barber.
  • And with Zach Veach, who deputized for Hildebrand at Barber and is here this weekend in his IndyCar Radio role as a pit reporter, and preparing for the Indianapolis 500 with AJ Foyt Racing.

You can see the episode above. Past IndyCar Paddock Pass episodes are below:


Hamilton confused by lack of pace in Russia F1 qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton was left confused and disappointed after finishing half a second behind pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel in Formula 1 qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Hamilton arrived in Russia looking to cut the gap to Ferrari driver Vettel in the championship standings after falling seven points behind last time out in Bahrain.

Vettel rallied to take his first pole since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday in Sochi, while Hamilton finished half a second back in fourth place, lagging behind Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton has long stated his desire to have Ferrari fighting with Mercedes at the front of the pace, but he was disappointed not to be able to fight Vettel for pole in Russia.

“This means we have a real race. It’s just a shame today, I definitely wasn’t at my optimum,” Hamilton told NBCSN after the session.

“Normally I’m a lot quicker than I was today. I need to go and work out why and if I can do anything.

“Obviously I can’t change the car, so I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.”

Speaking in Mercedes’ post-qualifying release, Hamilton said that he is hopeful of making use of the long straights at the Sochi Autodrom to catch and pass the Ferrari driver, with Mercedes bidding to maintain a 100 per cent record at the track.

“Sochi isn’t the easiest track to follow on, but there are long straights which should offer the opportunity to move forward. That’s our goal,” Hamilton said.

“I’m on the dirty side of the grid so I haven’t done myself any favours off the start. But that was the best job I could do today. We’ve got a real race to look forward to.

“There’s no point being upset. We’ll channel our positive energy and hopefully Sunday will be better.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Q3 traffic costs Raikkonen shot at first F1 pole in nine years

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Kimi Raikkonen was left lamenting traffic at the start of his final qualifying run in Sochi after narrowly missing out on his first Formula 1 pole in almost nine years.

Raikkonen last started a grand prix from pole in France back in 2008, but sat on provisional pole after the first Q3 runs had been completed in Russia on Saturday.

The final laps saw Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel improve to wrestle pole away, with a mistake sending Raikkonen wide at the final corner, meaning he was unable to improve.

Raikkonen was left to settle for second place, 0.059 seconds off Vettel’s time, with the Finn saying his inability to get his tires up to temperature early was the main issue.

“Obviously the aim is to be in the front. The feeling has been more better this weekend,” Raikkonen explained.

“Now we just got some traffic on our out lap in the last set and couldn’t really make the tires work as well as the first run. It was a bit more trickier. They were thereabouts and I just about got it back in the last corner, but obviously didn’t pay off.

“I’m happier than previous qualifyings, but obviously we had all the tools to be in the front today. One-two for the team is not bad.”

While Raikkonen was unable to take pole, Ferrari did capture its first front-row lock-out since the race at Magny-Cours in 2008. Raikkonen took pole that day ahead of teammate Felipe Massa, with the latter going on to win the race.

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.