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.”

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.