Ohio State student Patrick Gallagher to wear Buckeye helmet at Mid-Ohio race

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Livery design by Andy Blackmore. Photo credits: CJ Wilson Racing

The Ohio State University will be in action this weekend, but not for any spring tune-ups ahead of the 2013 Buckeyes football season.

In one of the more innovative link-ups in racing in recent years, Ohio State student and Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup driver Patrick Gallagher will wear a Buckeye helmet this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Gallagher, 20, is a junior mechanical engineering major at Ohio State, and a full-time driver for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher CJ Wilson in the No. 28 MAZDASPEED Motorsports CJ Wilson Racing MX-5 car.

The helmet was created by the talented livery designer Andy Blackmore and was finished and delivered being hand painted by Tyler Cenarusa of Censport Graphics. The retail value of this one-off helmet is approximately $3000.

It will be signed and auctioned immediately after the event with all funds benefiting the Hematosis and Thrombosis Center at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

The race track and university are nearly inextricably linked for Gallagher, a native of Thornville, Ohio.

“While my mom was pregnant with me she was watching my dad race from the Keyhole (Turn 2 at Mid-Ohio),” said Gallagher. “After the race, they went home and a few hours later I was born. It’s a cool story but I wish I was actually born at the track – that would have been pretty awesome.”

“I am thrilled to have the support of The Ohio State University and the opportunity to wear the school colors on a unique helmet design,” he added. “To have the support of so many people from such a large school like Ohio State is an incredible feeling. We will be looking to score a win for the whole OSU group!”

Wilson put the pressure on for the weekend. The online auction begins today, June 10, with more information available at www.cjwilsonracing.com, www.leftylefty.com, and on the CJ Wilson Racing Facebook page.

“A great thing about racing is we have an opportunity to recruit from across the country and showcase partnerships locally at each event. With Patrick being an Ohio State student, partnering with the school, for the Mid-Ohio round, while showcasing the work of the charity, will be awesome.  Now all he has to do is set pole, and win the races or he will never hear the end of it from the crew.”

Gallagher, who won MAZDASPEED’s Club Racing scholarship to compete in this year’s MX-5 Cup series, enters the doubleheader weekend June 15-16 in fifth place in the series points standings. He has a best finish of second, set last race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.

Daniel Ricciardo to decide soon about moving from Red Bull to another F1 team

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LE CASTELLET, France (AP) Daniel Ricciardo says over the next six weeks he wants to decide between staying at Red Bull or joining another Formula One team for next year.

Ricciardo said on Thursday at the French Grand Prix, “It would be nice to go on the summer break knowing what I am doing.”

F1 is working its way toward its three-week break in August with speculation mounting that Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren are interested in luring Ricciardo away from Red Bull for 2019.

“I will be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari as potential places for me to go, and I am aware that there will be interest from other teams,” he said.

The Australian driver has won seven races in his four-plus seasons with Red Bull. He is fourth in the standings behind leader Sebastian Vettel heading into the race at the Paul Ricard Circuit near Marseille.

Ricciardo’s stock has risen in recent months after his victories in Shanghai and Monaco. His Monaco win was particularly impressive because Ricciardo had to deploy some masterful defensive driving to protect his lead after losing an estimated 25 percent of his engine power.

Ricciardo said he had not directly spoken to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, but he hedged when asked if his manager had.

“People talk, have coffees, I will leave that one open-ended,” he said with a laugh.

Ricciardo called the decision on whether to go or stay with Red Bull the biggest choice of his career following his decision to leave his native Australia and continue his racing career in Europe over a decade ago.

“For sure the priority is to get a car to win the world title because I really believe I can,” he said. “I am slightly careful because it is easy to think the grass is greener and maybe it is, but I also have it pretty good where I am.

“People do like a change but just to make change for the sake of making a change is not enough for me. I need to find some substance behind it to jump ship.”

Red Bull announced recently it would be ending its 12-year partnership with engine-maker Renault and switching to Honda motors for next year.

Ricciardo was hesitant to endorse or criticize the change, saying he was going to “try to keep putting the pieces together if it is a good move.”

But with the question of the engine manufacturer out of the way, Ricciardo said Red Bull would likely be looking to resolve its drivers’ lineup for next year.

“I haven’t been pushed yet, but I would say that there will be some movement in the next week,” he said. “Whether that is something that gets put down on paper (or not), for sure the discussions will start to ramp up in the next few days.”