Could this week mark TBA’s elusive debut in Coyne’s second car?

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Sam Hornish Jr. was identified with a black silhouette after his last-minute appointment in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.

But the real mystery driver of racing, circa 2014, is the driver of Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

He – or she – is the mythical, legendary, TBA.

TBA has been in this position before. It’s less than a week until practice begins in St. Petersburg, and despite public statements in DCR press releases to the contrary saying the driver would be named by now, they haven’t.

TBA could be one of the team Twitter account’s recent follows: Conor Daly, Carlos Huertas, Luca Filippi, James Jakes, Sage Karam, Peter Dempsey or Sam Bird.

It could be one of its 2013 drivers currently without a full-time ride: Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, James Davison or Stefan Wilson.

It could be any of the late-1990s to early-2000s DCR second drivers like a Charlie Nearburg, Paul Jasper, Dennis Vitolo, Geoff Boss, Gualter Salles, Joel Camathias, Tarso Marques, Ricardo Sperafico or Juan Caceres.

It could be any of the names that have tested for Coyne this winter: Arie Luyendyk Jr., Francesco Dracone or Giuseppe Cipriani.

It could be none of the above 20-plus names and someone else plucked from an obscure open-wheel series altogether.

This is the brilliance of Dale Coyne’s second car. He’s always leaving us guessing until the 11th hour.

But I dream of one day where Coyne will run the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ car in an official on-track session, with a driver in a plain white firesuit and a plain white helmet.

It will be then, and only then, that “TBA” will make his or her officially unofficial – or unofficially official – race weekend debut.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.