Lewis Hamilton keen to race in NASCAR one day

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Two-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he would like to take part in a NASCAR race one day, as well as trying his hand at MotoGP.

Hamilton first got a taste of a NASCAR racer back in 2011 during a promotional event for Mobil 1 with Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen.

In a recent interview with British newspaper the Daily Mirror, the Briton revealed that he first wanted to race motorbikes when he was young, and is still interested in trying out a MotoGP bike one day.

“When I was a kid I wanted to race motorbikes,” Hamilton said.

“When my dad bought me my first go-kart I actually wanted a motorbike. I’m not disappointed how things have turned out but bikes were my first love I suppose.

“I’d also love to test a MotoGP bike just to see what it’s like. Naturally I’d know the lines but I’d love to know if I could even do it.”

Hamilton then added: “I’d really like to do a NASCAR race one day.”

The report was welcomed by current NASCAR driver Joey Logano, who tweeted: “Would be fun to have u on track with us @LewisHamilton!”

Hamilton’s interest in MotoGP has resulted in nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi offering the Briton a ride on his Yamaha bike.

“We always says to me he wants to come and try the motorcycle, but I say to him: ‘You ride a motorcycle, or you have to start from zero?'” Rossi said ahead of this weekend’s race at Indianapolis.

“But he said that he has good skill, he rides a 450 [motocross bike] and everything. You know, need a little bit of experience before try the MotoGP.

“But our bike is very easy, so we try to kill a little bit of power and for sure is good if Lewis will try the [Yamaha] M1.”

April 9 in Motorsports History: Al Unser Jr. gets sixth Long Beach win

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The list of winners in the Grand Prix of Long Beach is a ‘who’s who’ of open-wheel racing.

Mario Andretti won at the famed street course four times. His son Michael won there twice.

Paul Tracy is also a four-time winner at the beach. Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastien Bourdais, and Alexander Rossi also have won at the famed course multiple times.

But there is only one “King of the Beach”: Al Unser Jr.

The winningest driver in the race’s history, Unser won at Long Beach four consecutive times from 1988-91. He won again in 1994 and entered the 1995 edition as the race’s defending champion and the defending CART champion as well.

Starting fourth, Unser made slight contact with Gil de Ferran when he passed the Brazilian on Lap 3. He then continued to move up to the front, taking the race lead from Teo Fabi on Lap 30.

Once he had the lead, Unser ran away from the field, winning by more than 23 seconds over Scott Pruett.

Unser’s victory was such a familiar scene that after the race, CART news manager John Procida began the winner’s news conference with the following statement: “Well, we have a very familiar face on the top rung of the podium. As we listed on the prerace press release, this seems to be the Al Unser Invitational.”

Indeed it was. Unser’s victory was his sixth at Long Beach, and the 28th of his career. overall. While it would be his last win there, Unser continued to race at Long Beach through 1998 before missing 1999 with a broken leg and moving to the Indy Racing Leauge in 2000.

In 2009, Unser was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, which honors significant contributors to the race and California motorsports community.

“It truly is just an honor to be mentioned with the names and the legends that have already been put into the sidewalk,” Unser said during the induction ceremony. “To have Brian (Redman, the inaugural winner of the race) and Parnelli (Jones) is really an honor and just to be in their company is very, very special.”

Also on this date:

1971: Jacques Villeneuve was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada. The second-generation driver was one of the best in open-wheel racing during the 1990s, winning the Indianapolis 500 and CART championship in ’95 and becoming a Formula One champion two years later.

1989: Rick Mears dominated CART’s Checker Autoworks 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, leading every lap from the pole and lapping the field.

2011: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, their sixth consecutive victory in Grand Am competition. Their lengthy win streak, which started on Aug. 7, 2010 at Watkins Glen, prompted Grand Am to offer a $25,000 bounty for any Daytona Prototype team that could beat the dominant duo. The Action Express trio of Joao Barbosa, J.C. France, and Terry Borcheller finally unseated Pruett and Rojas in the series’ next round at Virginia International Raceway.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994