NASCAR: Bristol spring weekend shifting to April

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The first of NASCAR’s two annual visits to the Bristol Motor Speedway has been moved back a month.

BMS announced today that its spring NASCAR weekend, which features the Food City 500 for the Sprint Cup Series and a 300-mile Nationwide Series undercard, will go off on April 17-19, 2015.

“This is a great day in the history of Bristol Motor Speedway thanks to our passionate fans,” said Jerry Caldwell, BMS general manager and executive vice president, in a statement.

“[Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO and president] Bruton and Marcus Smith and NASCAR heard the relentless plea for a true spring race date. The fans can look forward to a 2015 landmark celebration April 17-19 in Thunder Valley.”

The Food City 500 has been held in March since the 2005 season, but weather conditions for the race have varied considerably.

This past March, Carl Edwards won after rain delayed the start for two hours and then delayed it again in mid-race for an additional three hours and change – causing it to end under the lights.

NASCAR.com notes that a spring date change for Bristol has been under consideration for some time, citing a Bristol (Tenn.) Herald Courier interview from last year in which Caldwell said that such a move would be “a game-changer for all of us.”

“I just remind [NASCAR officials] what we’re dealing with and what the race fans need,” added Caldwell in the interview.

Now, Caldwell and BMS have gotten their wish.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”