There’s several goodbyes confirmed or possible for IndyCar this evening

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This year’s IZOD IndyCar Series finale, the MAVTV 500 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), has several hellos and several more goodbyes. Here’s a quick recap of what we either are or may be saying goodbye to:

THIS IS THE LAST TIME

THIS MAY BE THE LAST TIME, I DON’T KNOW…

  • For AJ Allmendinger in IndyCar, with a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup ride beginning in 2014.
  • For Alex Tagliani at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and possibly in IndyCar given his recent sports car dalliance with Ferrari.
  • For JR Hildebrand (Barracuda Racing), Simona de Silvestro (KV Racing Technology), James Jakes (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and Oriol Servia (Panther Racing) at their respective teams. All are free agents at the end of the year.
  • For Venezuelan support, as it adorns the No. 5 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet driven tonight by Carlos Munoz, after a freeze has been put on funding.
  • For National Guard as primary sponsor at Panther Racing, per a report by NBCSN insider and RACER.com’s Robin Miller.  
  • For HP as primary sponsor at Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, per a report by RACER’s Marshall Pruett.  

THIS IS A COMEBACK RACE IN INDYCAR

  • For Allmendinger, who starts second, for the first time since Detroit.
  • For Pippa Mann, for the first time since Pocono in July.
  • For Tagliani and Carlos Munoz, for the first time since Toronto Race 2.
  • For Hildebrand, for the first time since Sonoma. 

Al Unser Jr. to race Pikes Peak Hill Climb for first time in 29 years

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is coming out of retirement to race again.

Unser Jr., who turns 56 on April 19, will compete in the 96th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24. It will be the first time Unser has raced at Pikes Peak in 29 years, since the 1989 event.

Unser won the Hill Climb and was named “King of the Mountain” in the 1983 event.

Unser said in 2007 that he was retiring from racing and had no plans to race in the future. However, he has taken part since then in some selected vintage racing events.

Speaking of vintage cars, Unser is slated to drive a 1936 Chevrolet Sedan in this year’s Hill Climb, according to race organizers.

He’ll compete with a number of luminaries including eight-time Hill Climb winner Paul Dallenbach; Layne Schranz, who will be competing in his 25th “Race to the Clouds”; 23-time champion Clint Vahsholtz; 25-time Hill Climb competitor David Schmidt II and three-time Climb winner Spencer Steele.

Unser recently returned to IndyCar racing as a consultant with Harding Racing, which is beginning its first full season in the series with Gabby Chaves behind the wheel.