Matt McMurry named Dyson Junior Driver

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One of North America’s most historic sports car teams is sitting out the 2014 season, at least initially, but Dyson Racing isn’t resting as an organization.

Earlier this week the team announced the Dyson Racing Junior Development Program, designed to aid, nurture and develop young drivers. The first driver named by team sporting director Chris Dyson is 16-year-old Matt McMurry, a Skip Barber Race Series and USF2000 graduate.

“Over the past three decades our team has also nurtured the careers of a number of up-and-coming drivers, including my own,” Dyson said. “With the creation of the Dyson Racing Junior Development Program we’ve made a more formal commitment to accelerating the progress of new generations of driving talent.”

McMurry will compete in the full IMSA Cooper Tire Prototype Lites series this year with Performance Tech Motorsports, and he’s also had a chance to sample Greaves Motorsport’s LMP2 Zytek Z11SN Nissan for testing.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me, and I’m honored to be Dyson Racing’s first Junior Development Program team member,” said McMurry.

Adds Dyson, “What impresses me the most about Matt is not how good he is for a driver his age. It’s just how flat good he is. I watched him drive last week in testing and I came away with the sense that he has enough talent that if he plays his card right, there’s no limit to how much he can accomplish.”

Keep an eye on this name and team pairing in the weeks and months to come.

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.