NASCAR Notes: Blaney’s schedule; McClure for Daytona 500

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My MotorSportsTalk colleague Jerry Bonkowski will have more on Team Penske’s 2014 NASCAR announcements from Charlotte later today, but one of its pieces of news we’ll put here in this post.

Penske development driver Ryan Blaney will race up to 15 Nationwide Series events for the team, and will also make two Sprint Cup Series starts in the No. 12 SKF Ford. Blaney will race at Kansas in April and Talladega in October.

In other news…

Eric McClure will attempt to make the Daytona 500 with Front Row Motorsports, in the team’s No. 35 Hefty Ford.

McClure, who suffered a severe accident at Talladega in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2012, previously attempted to qualify for the 2005 Daytona 500. He has three Sprint Cup Series starts, one apiece from 2004 through 2006.

The Nationwide Series veteran is also expected to return for a nearly full Nationwide schedule of 28 races, with 2000 series champion Jeff Green taking over in the other five.

McClure, 35, is expected to be one of several drivers in FRM’s No. 35, which ran full-time in 2013 with Josh Wise. The team’s two full-season efforts will be David Ragan (No. 34) and David Gilliland (No. 38), while the team hopes to find enough support for the No. 35 to run the majority of the races.

An IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Talladega? Drivers have discussed it

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is interested in an IndyCar iRacing event on an oval, he might like the latest idea being kicked around by NTT Series drivers.

“I personally would want to run at Talladega, but I don’t think that’s an option,” Arrow McLaren SP driver rookie Oliver Askew told NBCSports.com in a Friday interview about his simulation work for the second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “IndyCar drivers have a group chat with iRacing, and someone had the idea of running at Talladega, and I thought it was brilliant.”

It actually would be a throwback of sorts as a USAC-sanctioned race with Indy cars at Talladega nearly happened 40 years ago.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).

Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).

ENTRY LIST: Who will be racing at Barber

SPOTTER GUIDE: All 29 of this weekend’s paint schemes

IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.

A multicar crash at Talladega last October. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.

“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”

The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).

Will Power would like to see more of that.

“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”