Dakar: Penalty for Karginov gives Stage 4 truck win to Nikolaev (VIDEO)

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It looked like defending truck champion Andrey Karginov had notched his first win of the 2015 Dakar Rally following Wednesday’s Stage 4 from Chilecito to Copiapo.

But a one-minute time penalty given to him by race officials for excess speeding in a liaison stage handed the win to Stage 2 victor and KAMAZ teammate Eduard Nikolaev (pictured), who had finished a mere three seconds behind.

The penalty bumped Karginov to second in the stage. Another KAMAZ pilot, Stage 3 winner Ayrat Mardeev, finished third on Wednesday for a team sweep of the podium. MAN’s Ales Loprais and Iveco’s Hans Stacey were fourth and fifth, respectively.

KAMAZ also holds the top three spots in the overall as well. Mardeev remains leader in the truck category after assuming that role on Tuesday. He holds a one minute, 57-second advantage over Nikolaev, with Karginov running third at two minutes, 45 seconds back.

Meanwhile, Rafal Sonik broke through for his first stage win of the 2015 Dakar in quad action. The Polish rider finally reached the top Wednesday after starting the event with finishes of second, fourth, and third.

Sonik, who got that third-place finish in Stage 3 despite being assessed a 15-minute time penalty, won by almost three and a half minutes over defending Dakar champ Ignacio Casale. Mohammed Abu-Issa of Qatar was a distant third by more than 13 minutes.

Additionally, Sonik reclaimed the overall quad lead by a margin of 3 minutes, 49 seconds over Uruguay’s Sergio Lafuente, who finished fourth on Wednesday. Casale sits third overall at 13:32 behind, still feeling the effects of a 20-minute time penalty he received for starting late on Tuesday.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?