What’s up, doc? Aspiring M.D., NASCAR driver Patrick Staropoli featured in prestigious magazine

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NASCAR has seen its share of doctors along pit road, including broadcasters Dr. Jerry Punch and Dr. Dick Berggren.

But soon, we may see a doctor actually behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup car.

A great article about racer Patrick Staropoli crossed our desk on Christmas Eve, one that we just had to share with MotorSportsTalk readers.

It’s not so much that the story was about Staropoli, who we’ve written about in the past, but rather WHERE the story appeared.

In likely the first-ever NASCAR-related story that appeared in its hallowed pages, Harvard Magazine – as in the prestigious Harvard University – told Staropoli’s interwoven racing and medical stories.

It’s not surprising that Harvard Magazine would write about Staropoli. After all, he’s a graduate of the Ivy League juggernaut, having received his B.A. in 2012 before enrolling in medical school at the University of Miami.

While Staropoli still has a few years to become an M.D., he’s already a magna sum laude both at Harvard, as well as in the world of racing.

Staropoli is coming off an especially great weekend last week, when he recorded the second- and third-fastest speeds at Daytona International Speedway during a two-day ARCA test – his first time at the legendary NASCAR track in an ARCA car.

Staropoli wasn’t even scheduled to be at DIS for the test, but when a teammate driver fell ill, he drove through the night from Charlotte to Daytona and began racing with just one hour of sleep (much like a surgeon typically does at the hospital).

The story on Staropoli was written by a familiar name to many motorsports fans: Steve Potter, former racer and New York Times motorsports columnist – and a 1969 grad of Harvard, as well.

Click here to read Steve’s fine story on Staropoli.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.