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Brad Keselowski reflects on his IndyCar test debut in blog post

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Brad Keselowski used last night’s rain delay in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Daytona International Speedway to reflect on his Verizon IndyCar Series test debut in a new blog post out late Thursday night.

Keselowski explained why the test was so secretive, and how there were a couple misconceptions he needed to address.

He only got to test after going through the necessary approval process: from Penske Racing president Tim Cindric, from girlfriend Paige White, and from his mom.

And then he had to explain why the test was kept under wraps.

“We didn’t tell any media before hand, which prevented it from being a bigger story than it could have been,” he wrote. “But there was potential bad weather in the forecast, and the last thing we wanted to do was announce that we were doing it, and then not do it. 

“So we waited, and it actually rained a lot that day. We didn’t get onto the track until very late, and there was a good chance we were going to have to cancel altogether. (So from that perspective, it was good we didn’t announce it.)

“Once we did get going, I learned a lot. That was really special.”

Keselowski then addressed some of the differences he felt he needed to understand.

“In the closed cockpit, stock car world, we make fun of that because as a driver, we get into the car, and put our own seatbelts on. But after getting in an IndyCar for the first time, I realized why they do that. The cockpit is literally so small that you cannot move to put your own seatbelts on. That kind of hit of me as a, “Wow, that’s a way different feeling.”

“In the same way, NASCAR drivers make fun of IndyCar drivers because of the design of their firesuits. The firesuit is described as a “European design,” but essentially, they look like skinny jeans. Again, that’s because of the cockpit being such a tight space. It keeps the firesuit from being a problem. 

“Another thing that’s really different is the clutch. Most people think clutch, and they think of using your foot. Not in Indy car. The clutch is all done by hand. You use your fingers to change gears. That was hard to get a feel for as well.”

He also thanked the usual driver of the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, Simon Pagenaud, for the opportunity to sample his car and the tutelage.

The full blog post is worth a read on its own.

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.