IndyCar notes: Potential Indy 500 deals are brewing

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From those at Sebring, there’s actually been a fair bit of potential IndyCar nuggets that have emerged this week:

  • Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull told MotorSportsTalk on Wednesday that a fifth car for the Indianapolis 500 is possible, but if it comes together it would likely be late.
  • On a somewhat related note, 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam also said he has not shut the door to IndyCar opportunities, as he makes his second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship start this weekend with CGR. It would not be a surprise to see Karam appear somewhere on the IndyCar grid in the month of May, as he and his management team continue to work to put at least a partial open-wheel program together.
  • At least one other Chevrolet-powered team that has not announced an extra Indianapolis-only entry yet appears close to a deal with one Indy 500 veteran.
  • A significant number of Panther Racing’s crew members have been released to explore other opportunities; some have opted to shift into sports car racing. Panther has not formalized its 2014 IndyCar plans.

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.