IndyCar’s year in review, leading into Fontana (VIDEO)

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In case you missed any of the prior 18 races in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season, or just care to relive the excitement in a condensed, three-minute package, look no further.

IndyCar will crown its 2013 season champion – either Scott Dixon or Helio Castroneves – on Saturday night in the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

Before it does, here’s the highlights from St. Petersburg through to the most recent rounds of the year, the doubleheader weekend at Houston a couple weeks ago. An additional video as NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller, look back at Houston is also linked below.

You can see the full 2014 schedule reveal and 2013 championship preview on NBCSN in less than half an hour, at 8 p.m. ET this evening.

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.