GP2: Nasr and Cecotto win as Rossi scores first points

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The fourth round of the 2014 GP2 Series season in Austria saw Carlin’s Felipe Nasr and Trident’s Johnny Cecotto Jr. emerge victorious as American driver Alexander Rossi finally scored his first points of the season.

F1’s direct feeder series is enjoying its tenth season in 2014, but the advantage currently lies with DAMS driver Jolyon Palmer. The Briton entered the weekend with a healthy lead, but his worst showing of the season meant that his advantage was cut into by Nasr. The Brazilian does still trail by 33 points, though.

Nasr’s win in the first race came at the expense of Cecotto, who could only finish sixth despite starting on pole. McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne finally refound his form to finish second, having not scored any points since his win at the very first race of the 2014 season in Bahrain. The podium was completed by Ferrari youngster Raffaele Marciello.

Marciello doubled up in race two to secure yet another third place finish, but he was unable to challenge Cecotto and teammate Stefano Coletti at the front. The latter’s charge was highly impressive, but he just did not have the pace to beat the Venezuelan.

The races in Austria saw Alexander Rossi secure his first points of the season. Despite being one of the pre-season title favorites, Rossi had failed to finish any higher than 11th heading into the race weekend. However, he rallied to finish eighth in the feature race, giving himself pole position for the sprint race. Unfortunately, a poor start and aggressive tire wear meant that he had to settle for fifth place come the checkered flag.

GP2 will support the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks’ time, and after seeing his lead at the top of the standings decrease this weekend, Palmer will be hoping to extend it once again on home soil.

What’s next for Danica Patrick after the Indy 500? Dreams, downtime and waffles

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INDIANAPOLIS – When Danica Patrick was a 14-year-old growing up in Roscoe, Illinois, she had a firm idea of what she’d be doing 20 years later.

A reporter from her hometown newspaper recently reminded her of that in a recent interview when he brought a prescient artifact from those teenage years – an essay that she crafted as an up and coming go-kart driver about her racing accomplishments.

“I’m breezing through it, and then at the end, it said, ‘I wanted to race Indy cars,” Patrick, 36, said Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I was 14. I told him, ‘See? If this isn’t an example of “Write that shit down,” nothing is.’

“This is manifesting. You have write it down and you have to imagine what you want. So I do that as much as I can.”

Heading into the final start of her career in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 (she will start seventh in her No. 13 Dallara-Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing), Patrick already seems to have a solid idea of the next 20 years — in part, because of having some glimpses into her post-racing life.

There has been plenty of downtime since her final NASCAR start in the Daytona 500 three months ago. She has taken vacations (including an India trip to meet the Dalai Lama with boyfriend Aaron Rodgers) and created several new routines on her suddenly free from racing weekends.

“I make waffles on Sundays now,” she said. “That’s pretty fun.  In the summer, there’s like farmers market.  I can’t wait for that.  I mean, there’s going to be probably some new stuff that I don’t know yet.

“The one thing that I am definitely looking forward to less of is less stress.  Last weekend was awesome at the end of it all because it went well with qualifying, but I was nervous for 95% of that weekend. That’s uncomfortable.”

But testing her comfort zone is appealing to Patrick, who has spent most of her adult life testing the boundaries of gender norms in her profession. Though the pressure of race weekends might disappear, her incessant quest for challenges probably will remain.

Now that racing is over, Patrick still has a winery, a clothing line, a cookbook and a fitness manual to promote – and more is on the way.

“I just have a habit for pushing myself to uncomfortable spaces, making them comfortable for me,” she said. “At least just making them comfortable enough to be able to manage.

“As an example, I went bungee jumping a long while back, like 10 years.  I’m super scared of heights.  I’m still scared of heights.  But I just like to know that if I want to do something, I am brave enough and confident enough to do it.  That doesn’t mean I’m not still scared.  That doesn’t mean it’s not still something that’s easy to me afterward. I just like to know I can get past the fear if I have to.

“I’m OK with transitioning into other things, finding a little bit of happiness and joy each day, less colorization of emotions. I’m ready for that.”

So what specifically is on tap? Talk shows? Another book?

Patrick demurs when pressed.

“I think I have definitely big dreams and aspirations for myself, for all my companies, for the kind of emotion I want to have on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a good, easy, happy, calm, joyful, exciting, adventurous life.  If I say I want it, there’s a very good chance that’s what I’ll get.”

In the short-term, there’s hosting an ESPN awards show that will keep her busy through July.

And after that, her schedule will free up just as Green Bay Packers training camp begins for Rodgers, the two-time MVP quarterback.

“I’m thinking I’m going to have plenty of time to write a cookbook in Green Bay,” she said.