The DeltaWing Racing Cars team adds former Ganassi team manager Tim Keene starting in June, and he’ll assume the same position for the prototype team ahead of the team’s next round in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, at Watkins Glen on June 29.
Keene replaces fellow racing veteran David Price, who returns to Europe to focus on other business interests.
With more than 20 years experience in the business, Keene was the catalyst on the pit box for CGR’s GRAND-AM Rolex Series team starting in 2004. They won the title their first year.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” Keene said in a team release. “It’s totally different from what I’m accustomed to, as far as the car goes – and that’s what is really appealing to me. I think the car is very capable of winning. The team has worked very hard on the car’s development and I think they’re really close to becoming a contender, so it’s a good time to come on board and do whatever it takes to get the car and team to that next level.
“Everyone is very determined and has a really good attitude – and it’s really about the people first,” he added. “I was pleasantly surprised to get the call from Don, as he’s an icon in American sports car racing. After meeting with him and checking things out, I was sure I was doing the right thing.”
Thus far in 2014, the DeltaWing outqualified the other P2-spec cars at Daytona, led overall at Sebring and charged from last up to seventh overall in Monterey before retiring due to a mechanical failure. Andy Meyrick, Katherine Legge, Gabby Chaves and Alexander Rossi have driven the car this year – Legge and Chaves will be behind the wheel at Watkins Glen, as Meyrick has a prior commitment.
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.