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Gasly hopes to see out F1 season with Toro Rosso, depart Super Formula

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Pierre Gasly is hoping to see out the Formula 1 season with Toro Rosso and skip the Super Formula season finale in Japan despite standing a good chance of winning the title.

Red Bull youngster Gasly was placed in Super Formula for 2017 after winning the GP2 title last year, and is just half a point behind the series leader with one round remaining.

The Frenchman was handed a surprise F1 debut in Malaysia on Sunday after Daniil Kvyat was dropped by Toro Rosso due to poor form, and will also feature in Japan this weekend.

Red Bull is yet to confirm its plans for Gasly post-Suzuka, with the United States Grand Prix on October 22 clashing with the Super Formula season finale, suggesting Kvyat could be set to return.

However, Gasly told reporters on Saturday at Sepang he would like to complete the F1 season, even if it meant missing out on the chance to win the Super Formula title.

“A title is always important. After winning GP2, if I can win Super Formula, that would be great,” Gasly said as quoted by Crash.net.

“But if I can race in Austin, that will be even more amazing. We will see.

“If I can finish the year in F1, then I will finish the year in F1.”

Toro Rosso team chief Franz Tost said last week that it was “all open” for Kvyat to return in the future given he is still under contract as a Red Bull driver.

An IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Talladega? Drivers have discussed it

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If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is interested in an IndyCar iRacing event on an oval, he might like the latest idea being kicked around by NTT Series drivers.

“I personally would want to run at Talladega, but I don’t think that’s an option,” Arrow McLaren SP driver rookie Oliver Askew told NBCSports.com in a Friday interview about his simulation work for the second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “IndyCar drivers have a group chat with iRacing, and someone had the idea of running at Talladega, and I thought it was brilliant.”

It actually would be a throwback of sorts as a USAC-sanctioned race with Indy cars at Talladega nearly happened 40 years ago.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).

Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).

ENTRY LIST: Who will be racing at Barber

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IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.

A multicar crash at Talladega last October. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.

“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”

The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).

Will Power would like to see more of that.

“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”