American Le Mans: Cosmo leaves Extreme Speed, joins Level 5

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Level 5 Motorsports received a big boost to its bid for the 2013 American Le Mans Series P2 championship, as Guy Cosmo has joined the team following his resignation from rival outfit Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Cosmo (pictured, last year), who is currently tied for third in P2 points with now-former ESM teammate Scott Sharp, will now partner up with Level 5’s Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti, who are currently first and second in the class standings.

The next race for the ALMS comes this weekend on the streets of Baltimore.

“I’m looking forward to Baltimore, and am very excited to be welcomed on board at Level 5,” Cosmo said in a statement. “I’ve seen first hand how formidable a competitor they’ve proven to be, and their dedication to excellence is clear to everyone.

“It is a championship-caliber organization and I am looking forward to having a strong finish to the season in these next four races.”

As for ESM, they’ve responded by bringing in Anthony Lazzaro to team up with Sharp in their No. 01 entry for Baltimore. Lazzaro, a regular in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series’ GT class, has had prior experience with the group in both P2 and GT entries.

“Anthony knows us, the team, the cars and I think he’ll jump into the No. 01 and do a terrific job as my co-driver in Baltimore,” Sharp said in a team release. “We’re ready to conquer Baltimore and get back on that top step of the podium.”

“I want to thank Guy for representing ESM and [sponsor] Tequila Patrón for the last three years.  On behalf of the team, we wish him well on his future endeavors.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.