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Daniel Ricciardo will ‘definitely’ take up Dale Jr.’s Xfinity offer one day

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Daniel Ricciardo says that he will “definitely” take it up Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s open invite to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series one day, but only once he has hit his targets in Formula 1.

During a Twitter Q&A last year, Earnhardt said that Ricciardo would be welcome to race in a JR Motorsports car on a road course at any time.

Ricciardo responded by saying that he would look at his 2016 race calendar, which is already poised to be busier than ever thanks to a record-breaking 21 F1 grands prix.

Speaking to reporters at the Red Bull RB12 launch in London, Ricciardo said that he would definitely enter an Xfinity race one day – ideally alongside Earnhardt – but that he would want to dedicate some time to preparing for it so he could be competitive.

“I would love to,” Ricciardo said when asked if he could do an Xfinity race in 2016.

“To be honest, I didn’t get to a point where I asked Christian [Horner]. Because if I did it, I would want to do it properly. I would hate to go there and get my ass kicked basically. Then it looks bad on F1 as well. The cars would be so different, I would want to make sure that I tested and got comfortable.

“So I think in the calendar there were some races that I could do which didn’t clash, but the question was when could I do the testing. This is even before asking Red Bull, but just in my mind I was like ‘when could I test? When could I get to America?'”

Ricciardo said that he would most likely give it a go once he had checked off his targets in F1, where he has already claimed three grand prix victories and finished third in the drivers’ championship two years ago.

“I would love to do it one day, but now, not only is it a bit rushed but I’ve definitely got targets here in Europe and in Formula 1 which I want to tick off first,” Ricciardo said.

“Sure I’ve ticked off the winners column, but the world title is the real one. It will wait a little bit, but sure, one day, I think I will definitely take up his offer.

“Hopefully race alongside him, that would be cool.”

Clashes will prove to be an issue for more than just Ricciardo in 2016, with 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg unable to defend his title due to a clash with the European Grand Prix on June 19.

Ricciardo said it was a shame for Hulkenberg that there was this clash, while also expressing an interest in taking part in a 24-hour race one day.

“I think it sucks if you’re Nico Hulkenberg, because sure he had a seat with his name on it, and then yeah it’s all kind of come undone,” Ricciardo said.

“Again it’s one of those things right now I’m not that worried about. I would have loved to have done it, but it’s a bit like NASCAR, that’s the beauty of it. It can come later down the track. One day it would be great to do it.

“I watched the Daytona 24 a few weeks ago, and I was like that would be cool. It’s our pre-season so we’ll see. Maybe that one could be on the cards a little sooner. At least it’s not during the season. It’d be cool to do a 24-hour race and just experience that challenge.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.