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Perez keen on future Rolex 24 at Daytona appearance

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Sergio Perez would like to enter the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the future after getting a taste for the sports car event earlier last year when watching his brother race.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso announced on Thursday he would be entering this year’s race at Daytona with United Autosports, acting as his first foray into sports car racing ahead of a possible shot at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future.

Alonso is one of the most active drivers in F1 engaging with other championships, leading to questions for his peers about possibly wanting to race at Daytona in the future.

Perez said he was keen to appear in the Rolex 24 someday, having attended last year’s race to see his brother, Antonio Perez, on-track.

“I think it’s good experience,” Perez said. “Obviously, Fernando is wanting to experience that route a lot, with Indy, the 24 Hours and probably he might think of Le Mans.

“I think it’s a great, you know. I think it’s a great experience. It’s one of those races that you would like to do at some point.

“I went there actually last year to see my brother. He did the race the 24 Hours in Daytona, and it’s an amazing race and an amazing venue.

“It’s one race that I definitely want to do at some point in my career.”

While no other drivers openly expressed their interest in Daytona, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said he would consider doing a sports car race someday, but only alongside his father, ex-F1 racer Jos.

“Of course the first priority is to stay as long as possible in F1, but if I like it then maybe I will do it, but I only want to do it with my dad,” Verstappen said.

“I think after F1 to get the same sensation is really hard, so I try to do that as long as possible.”

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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