France: IndyCar’s a friend to NASCAR, but needs to stand on its own

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NASCAR CEO Brian France called IndyCar “a friend” to NASCAR, but dismissed the idea IndyCar could ever run with the Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series on the same weekend.

The answers were from a wide-ranging interview with the Indianapolis Star‘s Curt Cavin ahead of this weekend’s Brickyard 400.

“We consider it a friend (not a foe). We can’t win when other people lose,” said France. “We would prefer to see a healthy IndyCar Series.

“I know we’ll help them significantly by moving to NBC and the NBC Sports Network. We’ll give a lot of visibility to that network and that in turn will be good for them. Our hope is that they will get stronger because we run at a number of the same venues and if they can contribute to those venues that need all kinds of capital and improvements, (that) would be a win for us.”

So, in that respect, a rising tide lifts all boats from a broadcast standpoint, and in theory should be good for all parties in 2015 and beyond.

As for the sharing weekend question?

“No. Nationwide is significantly ahead of the Indy Racing League in terms of its television ratings and attendance and everything else with the exception, obviously, of the Indy 500. We wouldn’t want to mix that. They have to stand on their own, and we have to stand on our own,” he said.

My only issue with that quote is that now, INDYCAR is the term for the sanctioning body, not Indy Racing League. My question here is, would France be concerned that the NASCAR brand would be damaged by racing at a track where its cars are significantly slower?

They’re two different types of racing; enjoy each as they are.

Leclerc: No. 16 was third-choice for Formula 1 career

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2018 Formula 1 rookie Charles Leclerc has revealed No. 16 was his third-choice number to use through his grand prix career, with his preferred options having already been taken.

From 2014, drivers were given the chance to pick a number to use through their F1 careers instead of being assigned one depending on their team’s championship position.

Formula 2 champion and Ferrari junior Leclerc was announced in an Alfa Romeo Sauber race seat for 2018 earlier this month, picking No. 16 as his permanent number.

However, the Monegasque racer revealed last week that it was in fact his third choice, with both No. 7 and No. 10 already being taken by Kimi Raikkonen and Pierre Gasly respectively.

“It’s quite simple to be honest: I wanted number 7 first, but Kimi had it,” Leclerc said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“Then I chose 10, but Pierre came to F1 and chose number 10, so then I chose number 16.

“It’s just my date of birth and I could not find anything better. And 1 + 6 = 7, which is my favorite number.”

Leclerc will become the first driver hailing from Monaco to race in F1 since Olivier Beretta, who made nine grand prix starts in 1994 for Larrousse.