Clint Bowyer to trade steering wheel for a hockey stick — for one night

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What is it about NASCAR drivers and hockey? Maybe it’s all the beatin’ and bangin’ that goes on in both sports.

Last year, Danica Patrick attended a Chicago Blackhawks home game, even scoring a goal in a between-period shootout (see video below).

A native of Roscoe, Ill., about 90 miles northwest of Chicago, Patrick also showed off some of her old moves as a high school cheerleader both when she tallied the goal, as well as while cheering on the hometown team during the game.

Now, NASCAR’s resident farm boy from Emporia, Kansas, wants to get out on the ice – well, kind of.

Clint Bowyer will be in the house Tuesday when the Carolina Hurricanes host the New York Rangers at PNC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

The game will be part business and pleasure for Bowyer. He’ll be promoting the March 30 Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, but will also get a chance to hang out with hockey fans and maybe even get a little hands on.

Bowyer will sign autographs, then at 7 pm ET will sound the Hurricanes’ Warning Siren to welcome the team onto the ice for the start of the game.

Then between the first and second period, Bowyer will actually go onto the ice, playing a game of Percentages with a fan that will be selected via a social media contest (on both Twitter and Facebook) the team will conduct this Monday, March 10.

The winning fan will not only get to match skills with Bowyer, he or she will also get a free pair of tickets to the race. Bowyer finished runner-up in last year’s spring race at the little south Virginia short track.

“We’re looking forward to a fun night with the Hurricanes and Clint,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “While racing and hockey are totally different sports, there are similarities between hockey and racing at Martinsville: lots of action and plenty of contact.”

Who knows, maybe Bowyer may pick up a few pointers on how to check his opponent into the boards … err, make that wall.

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Wickens tops final Road America practice

Photo: IndyCar
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Robert Wickens showed the way in final practice for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, topping the speed charts with a quick time of 1:42.991, the only time below 1:43 during the session.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, and Graham Rahal completed the top five.

The lone incident of the session came right at the end, when Zach Veach went for a spin exiting Bill Mitchell Bend (turn 13). However, Veach did not suffer any damage in the incident.

Times are below. Qualifying begins at 4:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. local time) and will air on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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