New Indy Lights car performs first full test day at Mid-Ohio (VIDEO)

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Following a shakedown at Putnam Park in Indiana last week by Conor Daly (see below), the new Dallara IL15 Indy Lights car had its first proper run Monday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Daly was slated to drive once more on Monday but had to leave due to a sponsor commitment in Miami.

That left testing duties to Tristan Vautier, the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year, who’s been busy between Road To Indy TV work, Mazda LMP2 prototype racing and sports car racing this season.

Vautier got out early and began cranking off laps. Here was his pace after early runs:

The Frenchman put the new car through its paces and by the end of the day after 85 laps, got down to an unofficial best lap of 1:13.4 around the 2.258-mile road course, a time already half a second better than the pole time for this weekend’s pair of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races.

Here’s Vautier’s recap of the day, to Anders Krohn for R2ITV – Krohn is also the analyst for NBCSN’s Indy Lights race coverage.

Interest and discussion was high regarding the new Indy Lights chassis this weekend; the road course version of the car arrived on Sunday while the oval version show car was on display all weekend.

MotorSportsTalk has learned of at least one potential new entrant to the series, and potentially a current team on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder looking to purchase the new chassis. No formal announcement has been made by Andersen Promotions – the series promoters – regarding the number of chassis sold or number of teams interested.

But I did speak to Daly during the weekend, who hailed the car’s pace and ability. Here was Daly’s video of the car going past:

“This thing has a proper turbo sound and feel to it,” Daly said. “It’s going to be really cool to see how this car develops.”

Indeed along with the other news and notes on the IndyCar side, following the Indy Lights car and silly season development this winter is also going to be interesting to watch.

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.