IndyCar: Jack Hawksworth cleared to compete at Iowa

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After missing last weekend’s race at Pocono due to a myocardial contusion sustained in a practice crash, Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Jack Hawksworth has been given the green light and will race in Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

Hawksworth, driver of the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda, was cleared to resume racing activities by INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger according to a series release put out this afternoon.

Last Saturday, Hawksworth spun and crashed in Turn 1 during the second practice session. He was initially checked, cleared and released from the track’s infield care center, but was later transported to a local hospital and held there for overnight observation.

Hawksworth was released from the hospital on Sunday, but was not cleared to drive in that day’s Pocono IndyCar 500 and his No. 98 car was withdrawn from the grid.

In a team release, BHA said that putting in a substitute driver for Hawksworth at Pocono was not feasible and that they would focus on preparing their second car for Iowa.

“The guys are working on getting the [backup] car ready,” team owner Bryan Herta later told NBCSN during Sunday’s race. “…It’s a bump in the road. It’s unfortunate, but we should back on track next week.”

Yesterday, Hawksworth gave notice on Twitter that he and BHA are ready to get back in the fight.

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.”