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Ricciardo visits NASCAR Texas race; swaps helmets with Dale Jr.

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Mission accomplished for Daniel Ricciardo on Sunday at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

He met Dale Earnhardt Jr., and completed a helmet swap.

Ricciardo told NBCSN Formula 1 pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas last month he planned to see Earnhardt’s final race at Texas before he hangs up his helmet as a full-time driver at the end of the year. A lifelong fan of the Earnhardt family, Ricciardo said he wanted to see him in person.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well,” Ricciardo told NBCSN. “Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

The Red Bull Racing driver will be back in action in F1 next week at Brazil, but with an off week between Mexico last week and Brazil now, he headed to Texas this weekend.

As it was, Ricciardo was a guest of Chase Elliott at Sunday’s Cup Series race and toured the grid and soaked in the atmosphere before the race. He was wearing a Dale Earnhardt No. 3 shirt, with “The Black Knight” signage.

Here’s the helmet swap, which Earnhardt said was Ricciardo’s idea. Earnhardt also said at his media availability on Friday he needs to get to a Formula 1 race.

“I’ve never been to a Formula 1 race. It’s something, you have to check that box,” he said Friday before expanding on that on Sunday, “I’m bound for an F1 race to see Daniel wheel it next year!”

Ricciardo posted several times to his Instagram story and also took a few photos with drivers and teams on pre-grid.

Instagram story posts via @DanielRicciardo

Tweets/Instagram posts

NBC to air more than 100 hours of IMSA racing in 2019

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Beginning January 26, 2019 with the 57th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona, NBC will air more than 100 hours of exclusive coverage of the IMSA Sports Car Championship across their platforms.

NBC Sports will present 12 races across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app throughout 2019. In addition to the 24 Hours at Daytona, race highlights include the 12 Hours of Sebring from Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida, on March 16; the Grand Prix of Long Beach from the Long Beach Street Circuit on April 13; and the penultimate race of the season from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, on September 15.

“We couldn’t be more excited to begin our IMSA coverage with the 57th running of the iconic Rolex 24,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN in a press release. “As the home of U.S. motorsports, we’ll showcase the uniqueness of IMSA racing to motorsports fans everywhere, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the association throughout the upcoming season.”

More than 40 hours of will be broadcast on NBCSN with live coverage of the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Laguna Seca and season finale Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta showing on NBC.

MORE: IMSA Reveal 2019 schedule

Coverage of the 24 Hours of Daytona will get underway Thursday, January 24 at 2 p.m. ET with a season preview on NBCSN. That program will be followed by live coverage of qualification for the race from 3 to 5 p.m. ET as a world class group of drivers lock in their positions for the annual twice-around-the-clock endurance race.

The preview show will re-air Saturday as a lead-in to live coverage of the 24 Hours, which will kick off a 2 p.m. ET.

“As we all get ready for IMSA’s much-anticipated 50th anniversary season in 2019, our new NBC Sports media partnership promises to promote and showcase our unique premium product in revolutionary ways,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “Both IMSA and the WeatherTech Championship have been experiencing incredible momentum the last several years and this partnership should only help elevate the sport to new heights.”

NBC will be the exclusive home for IMSA beginning in 2019 as part of a six-year partnership between the two organizations.

The season concludes with live coverage of the Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 12 from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.

All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.