NASCAR notes: Dave Blaney, Brian Keselowski announce 2014 plans

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A couple more minor bits of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series news have emerged in the last 24 hours or so, in the form of two more confirmed entrants for at least the Daytona 500 and possibly beyond.

  • Via NASCAR.com, Dave Blaney, who lost his seat at Tommy Baldwin Racing after three years to the sponsored Michael Annett, will drive the No. 77 Ford for Randy Humphrey, with crew chief Peter Sospenzo. Humphrey worked with Mark Smith on the No. 19 Toyota that frequently started-and-parked in 2013. Blaney, now 51, started 35 of 36 races last year with a best finish of 16th at Talladega in May. His best non-restrictor-plate race finish was at Fontana in March, 21st.
  • Brian Keselowski, Brad’s older brother, announced via Twitter he’ll return to the No. 92 car in 2014. The older Keselowski struggled mightily to get up to pace in the new Generation-6 car at the 2013 Daytona Speedweeks. Whether he runs any races beyond the Daytona 500 remains to be seen. Brian Keselowski has three career Cup starts, two last year and the 2011 Daytona 500.

Chances are high we’ll be writing much more about Blaney’s son Ryan, a Team Penske prodigy, and Brad Keselowski compared to Brian this year. Still, Daytona can throw a curveball and if either driver makes the field and survives the inevitable “Big One,” they could be in for good days.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool