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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 will eliminate double points from the 2020 season finale

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Though the NTT IndyCar Series hasn’t confirmed the date of its 2020 season finale, it has determined that double points won’t be in play.

An IndyCar official confirmed Monday to NBCSports.com that whether the season ends at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, or on the streets of St. Petersburg, neither race will feature double points. Team owners were informed of the change during a conference call last week.

The news was first reported by RACER.com.

With the original 17-race schedule having been shortened by the cancellation of at least three races (Circuit of The Americas, Barber Motorsports Park, the Long Beach Grand Prix), using double points in the finale would have carried even greater weight (and perhaps more so if more races are unable to be run because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has been using double points at select races since the 2015 season. The 104th Indianapolis 500 will remain a double-points event.

In rescheduling the Indy 500 to Aug. 23 last week, IndyCar unveiled a revised schedule that listed Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as TBD for its season finale. The race originally had been scheduled to open the season before being called off because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told reporters last week that St. Pete probably would be slotted into the first two weeks October after the Sept. 20 race at Laguna Seca that had been slated to be the season finale for the second consecutive year.