What is it about NASCAR drivers and hockey? Maybe it’s all the beatin’ and bangin’ that goes on in both sports.
Last year, Danica Patrick attended a Chicago Blackhawks home game, even scoring a goal in a between-period shootout (see video below).
A native of Roscoe, Ill., about 90 miles northwest of Chicago, Patrick also showed off some of her old moves as a high school cheerleader both when she tallied the goal, as well as while cheering on the hometown team during the game.
Now, NASCAR’s resident farm boy from Emporia, Kansas, wants to get out on the ice – well, kind of.
Clint Bowyer will be in the house Tuesday when the Carolina Hurricanes host the New York Rangers at PNC Center in Raleigh, N.C.
The game will be part business and pleasure for Bowyer. He’ll be promoting the March 30 Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, but will also get a chance to hang out with hockey fans and maybe even get a little hands on.
Bowyer will sign autographs, then at 7 pm ET will sound the Hurricanes’ Warning Siren to welcome the team onto the ice for the start of the game.
Then between the first and second period, Bowyer will actually go onto the ice, playing a game of Percentages with a fan that will be selected via a social media contest (on both Twitter and Facebook) the team will conduct this Monday, March 10.
The winning fan will not only get to match skills with Bowyer, he or she will also get a free pair of tickets to the race. Bowyer finished runner-up in last year’s spring race at the little south Virginia short track.
“We’re looking forward to a fun night with the Hurricanes and Clint,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “While racing and hockey are totally different sports, there are similarities between hockey and racing at Martinsville: lots of action and plenty of contact.”
Who knows, maybe Bowyer may pick up a few pointers on how to check his opponent into the boards … err, make that wall.
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Ferrucci steps up to Formula 2 with Trident for rest of season
American racer Santino Ferrucci will make the step up to FIA Formula 2 for the remainder of the 2017 season, linking up with Trident.
Ferrucci, 19, made his GP3 debut in 2016 and has raced in the series ever since, balancing development duties with the Haas Formula 1 team.
The native of Woodbury, Connecticut will make his F2 debut this weekend in Hungary, securing a seat with Trident for the rest of the season.
“We are really proud to announce the agreement reached between Team Trident and the American racer Santino Ferrucci for the final five rounds of the FIA Formula 2 season,” Trident team manager Giacomo Ricci.
“The 19-year-old already had the chance to test one of our GP3 Series cars in last November’s collective postseason test at Abu Dhabi.
“Back then, he impressed the team’s staff, bringing home great results and keeping his name among the top-5 at all times.
“He is now set to make his Formula 2 debut at Budapest, on the same track where he led the way in GP3 Series testing.
“I am sure that Santino has all the skills needed to adapt to a Formula 2 car very quickly. Also, thanks to his Formula 1 experience, he will not have problems in managing more power and carbon fiber brakes.”
American Flat Track shows on NBCSN will be part of the “Overdrive” block on Thursday nights, the series announced. Races from Turf Paradise and beyond take place every Thursday from here through October 12.
The release from the series is below:
This Thursday night, American Flat Track (AFT) shifts into primetime to serve as a cornerstone of NBCSN’s Overdrive, a new high-octane motorsports programming block slated to run weekly throughout the summer and fall.
Tune in Thursday, July 27, at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) for an hour of gripping flat track motorcycle racing as NBCSN provides coverage of the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle. Every American Flat Track show within the Overdrive block has been expertly produced with intense onboard camera footage, slow motion replays and behind-the-scenes feature content to showcase the 140mph+ tactical warfare and sub-tenth-of-a-second victory margins that define the sport.
Overdrive fans on Thursday night will be treated to an absolute barn burner from flag-to-flag in the AFT Singles Main Event, providing an early indication of the brilliance to come from AFT Singles standout Shayna Texter. The final half of the program goes in-depth with the Factory Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle squads, followed by an epic shootout between teammates Jared Mees, Brad Baker and defending champ, Bryan Smith, in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event.
Overdrive starts each Thursday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on NBCSN and takes a deep dive into wide world of motorsports. The television premiere schedule for American Flat Track on NBCSN’s Overdrive is as follows:
Editor’s note: Sean Rayhall, one of America’s rising driving talents, will file a series of blogs throughout the year chronicling his season in the European Le Mans Series, co-driving with John Falb at Zak Brown and Richard Dean’s United Autosports team in its Ligier JS P3. His third blog recaps a tough end to what had been a winning weekend in Austria, before a post-race penalty was assessed (previous blogs are linked here; Silverstone, Le Mans).
The Red Bull Ring weekend for us came at a good time, to get back in a rhythm after I’d had quite a busy few weeks of travel leading into it. Between testing at Spa, coaching at Mont-Tremblant and resting up when I could it was good to have a nice flight back overseas to Austria on the Thursday before Round 3 of the ELMS season.
We felt really positive about our chances going into the weekend with how both the team and us as drivers performed separately last year, so we figured putting the two together could work out nicely for us.
Free practices didn’t go too much as planned, as we were a bit off. We were running a few things differently on our car and we were struggling to achieve the ultimate pace on new tires to qualify up front, although on old tires our pace was mega.
My engineer “G-Baby” (Gary Robertshaw) was pretty grumpy at this point and to be completely honest, so was I. But what followed next was almost magical because of how rarely you see this happen.
Gary dug deep and worked incredibly hard to do what he did, to get us the pace in qualifying. Going in, he looked at me and said, “Alright, we are changing everything. It’s going to be better and you’re just going to have to drive whatever it is.”
From a driver’s eyes, this is both motivating and concerning. I was literally briefed in the car by radio five minutes before qualifying on how I was going to have to brake differently. That being said, long story short, throwing the kitchen sink at it worked and we qualified sixth, within a few tenths of the other Ligiers.
At race time I wasn’t sure what our race pace was going to be like, so I knew I needed to get to the front and keep as many people behind me as possible to secure a good race for us.
So launching flat out on the start going up the hill, everyone hugged the inside and I went “high side and handsome” to get us into P3 by Turn 3. As this is such a short track, you need to make positions up quickly before a lap gets away from you.
A few laps later we made the pass for P2 coming out of Turn 4, and we were on a mission. About 35 minutes into the first stint a GTE car came back on track in front of me, which caused me to completely flat spot the right front tire I had to race on till the end of my second stint.
This took a lot of patience because I knew I would give up P2, but I also knew that I had to nurse this tire for another hour and a half. So we hit a bad bit of traffic and (Giorgio) Mondini got by as I settled into P3 for the rest of my stints.
John got in the car on a mission and was chasing down the leader with new tires, and I’d have to say it was one of the best drives of his life.
He got to the leader and it was a battle for about 45 minutes before the driver in the No. 11 Eurointernational car cracked under pressure and made contact with a lapped car. We weren’t home free yet, as we were assessed a drive through penalty for track limit violations as John was avoiding a GTE car. Somehow after serving the penalty we still came out on track 2.5 seconds ahead of second. And somehow, we were safe to bring it home and grab the win. Talk about a nail-biter weekend and an emotional roller coaster!
We had a great afternoon getting our belongings and trophies, had a drink with the team, and then went to our favorite Italian man in Austria’s place for some pizza and a bottle of his famous Orange melon Liquor to take back to Vienna with us. Antonino was perhaps the oddest but funniest man we met it Austria. By far, John Falb, Scott Andrews, and I had the best dinner out of everyone from the track that night!
About an hour into the car drive back to Vienna, I received a phone call informing us we had been penalized for getting to 80 kph two seconds too late (failing to reduce enough speed), and they had given us a post-race penalty of 25 seconds. That gave the win away and put us in second place. To be honest, these were two penalties that we never gained time from, would never have been race deciding, that were allowed to decide our race for us.
Unfortunately, that’s racing and we will just have to work had enough to be able to handle 50 seconds in penalties at Paul Ricard – but ideally, not receive any further penalties assessed.
This is the challenge though and it’s up to us how we rise above it between John, myself, “G-Baby” and the entire United Autosports team, who again put us in a position to win. And the team still did get one win – our guys in the LMP2 car, Filipe, Will and Hugo, won the race overall in their Ligier! Congrats to them.
Thanks for reading guys! Will let you know how the next one goes!