Could this week mark TBA’s elusive debut in Coyne’s second car?

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Sam Hornish Jr. was identified with a black silhouette after his last-minute appointment in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.

But the real mystery driver of racing, circa 2014, is the driver of Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

He – or she – is the mythical, legendary, TBA.

TBA has been in this position before. It’s less than a week until practice begins in St. Petersburg, and despite public statements in DCR press releases to the contrary saying the driver would be named by now, they haven’t.

TBA could be one of the team Twitter account’s recent follows: Conor Daly, Carlos Huertas, Luca Filippi, James Jakes, Sage Karam, Peter Dempsey or Sam Bird.

It could be one of its 2013 drivers currently without a full-time ride: Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, James Davison or Stefan Wilson.

It could be any of the late-1990s to early-2000s DCR second drivers like a Charlie Nearburg, Paul Jasper, Dennis Vitolo, Geoff Boss, Gualter Salles, Joel Camathias, Tarso Marques, Ricardo Sperafico or Juan Caceres.

It could be any of the names that have tested for Coyne this winter: Arie Luyendyk Jr., Francesco Dracone or Giuseppe Cipriani.

It could be none of the above 20-plus names and someone else plucked from an obscure open-wheel series altogether.

This is the brilliance of Dale Coyne’s second car. He’s always leaving us guessing until the 11th hour.

But I dream of one day where Coyne will run the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ car in an official on-track session, with a driver in a plain white firesuit and a plain white helmet.

It will be then, and only then, that “TBA” will make his or her officially unofficial – or unofficially official – race weekend debut.

Rossi discharged from hospital after motorcross accident

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MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after suffering injuries in a motorcross accident earlier this week.

Nine-time motorcycling world champion Rossi was diagnosed with “mild thoracic and abdominal trauma” after the accident on Thursday morning, resulting in his admission to the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, Italy.

The hospital noted in a statement that there were “no fractures detected in any part of the body and no serious traumatic pathologies”, with Rossi recovering overnight with pain relief.

On Friday, a further statement was issued confirming that Rossi had been discharged from hospital.

“Valentino Rossi has returned home from the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, having successfully completed routine diagnostic tests that were scheduled earlier on Friday,” the statement reads.

“With the attending doctors confirming the findings shared in this morning‘s medical bulletin, the nine-time World Champion left the hospital at 5.30pm, accompanied by his staff.

“He will now continue the recovery process at home.”

The Yamaha rider’s next racing engagement comes next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.