IndyCar: Graham Rahal turns laps at Bristol – in a Mustang (VIDEO)

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Picture this: Twentysomething open-wheel IndyCars attacking the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway, the track that represents NASCAR’s bumpin’ and bangin’ nature more than any other.

It’s a bizarre thought. To some, perhaps a diabolical one. But after taking a few laps around Bristol in a Ford Mustang last weekend (see the track-issued video above), Graham Rahal believes that an IndyCar race in “Thunder Valley” would be a hoot.

“It’d be fun to get an IndyCar out here and give it a shot,” he said. “I mean we’d be dizzier than can be, but it’d be kinda fun. With the downforce levels and horsepower, they can adjust with turbos and everything else.

“They could make this really entertaining and quite an interesting race.”

It sure would be memorable – perhaps for both good and bad reasons.

As for last weekend’s experience, Rahal came away impressed with NASCAR’s most infamous half mile.

“What makes racing around this place so cool is the atmosphere,” he said. “[Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO] Bruton [Smith] always does a great job with his facilities. I’ve been to a bunch of drag races now, and this is the nicest place I’ve seen.

“Then to come here and see this – there’s no wonder it’s one of everybody’s favorites. It’s simply the atmosphere. I can’t imagine what this place would be like for a Cup race, let alone the football game coming up. It’d be incredible. There’s not a bad seat in the house.”

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Rahal and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series returns June 28 and 29 with the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. NBCSN will air both races LIVE at 3 p.m. ET.

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

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