Darlington, Kansas to swap 2014 NASCAR dates; Kansas also adds sports car date

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NASCAR races at Darlington Raceway and Kansas Speedway will swap dates for 2014 as part of a revised full season Sprint Cup schedule.

Darlington shifts from its Mother’s Day Saturday night race in May to Saturday, April 12 for the Bojangles Southern 500, with the Nationwide Series on the Friday, April 11.

Kansas will now run the first of its two Cup races on Saturday night, May 10, with the Camping World Trucks Friday night, May 9. The race’s second Cup date will still be in October, on Oct. 5.

NASCAR has yet to release its full 2014 Sprint Cup schedule, but it should be out within the next couple weeks.

Kansas also dropped a nugget as it pertains to support and developmental series running with the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, per an MRN Radio release.

The track’s infield road course hosted a round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series this year, won by Jordan Taylor over Scott Pruett in a knockdown, drag-out fight. But Kansas did not make the 2014 TUDOR Championship schedule for United SportsCar.

The track announced that the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, IMSA Prototype Lites and IMSA Porsche GT3 Challenge will race on the road course on June 7. They are three of the series set to run with the TUDOR Championship on its schedule, or independently on some weekends.

Expect this as the first of several announcements where these or other series could be racing at tracks that did not secure a date on the 2014 TUDOR Championship calendar.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”