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Christian Fittipaldi to retire after 2019 Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Christian Fittipaldi plans to retire from driving after the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the January race he was won three times.

The 47-year-old Brazilian racer announced the decision Saturday at Road America.

“My relationship with my family, my daughter, my age, so it’s the package. It’s not one thing,” Fittipaldi said. “It’s not that I went out there, I had a huge accident and said, `Whoa, now I’m afraid of doing this. I can’t do this anymore.’ It wasn’t that. It was the package and I think the timing is correct. I’m going to respect the timing a lot.”

Fittipaldi, the nephew of two-time Formula One champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, is a two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype champion, a four-time champion of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup and a winner of 12 IMSA races. He also won two Champ Car races and competed in Formula One and NASCAR.

He’ll get the chance to add two more victories before hanging up his helmet, at Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 13, and the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 26-27.

“I owe a lot to Daytona,” Fittipaldi said. “I owe a lot to the France family and Daytona has brought me a lot of happiness. I have had a lot of success there. We won three times. I think I have six or seven podiums in total.”

Hunter McElrea wins Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Scholarship

IndyCar.com
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Hunter McElrea bested 18 competitors to win the third annual Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout on Sunday at Bondurant Racing School in Chandler, Ariz.

The two-day contest featured on-track competition in Formula Mazda cars as well as interview sessions and assessment from a panel of judges.

“I can’t believe it,” McElrea said at IndyCar.com. “This is definitely the most exciting opportunity that I have had in my racing career. I cannot thank Mazda and everyone enough for making this possible for me. The fact that I am going to be on the grid next year thanks to them is a dream come true.

“They have given me the opportunity to prove myself in such a high level that I never even thought I would be able to reach. I have to thank Andersen Promotions, Cooper tires, all of the judges, everyone from Mazda, the Bondurant Racing School and the other competitors, who literally pushed me to the limit.

“I am just so happy. It is still sinking in, but I just can’t wait to get next year started, and I’ll be representing Mazda in that nice Soul Red USF2000 car.”

MORE: Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 shootout

The 19-year-old McElrea was born in California, but reared in Australia.

As a result of winning the award, McElrea will compete in the 2019 season of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder.

McElrea won the Australian Formula Ford Championship this year on the strength of 13 victories in 21 races.

Early competition resulted in a final field of six drivers that included Jake Craig, Michael Eastwell, Braden Eves, Flinn Lazier and Ross Martin. They competed in a qualification session and 30-minute simulated race. McElrea won that race.

“Today was an incredible day,” said Tom Long, Mazda Motorsports factory driver and one of the judges. “There was so much talent here for the shootout. Hunter McElrea just rose to the top when it was time to shine, but our decision was very, very difficult.

“In the end, given all of the circumstances, we were able to make a pretty good decision and we are really, really proud of not only Hunter but our whole team here with Mazda to be able to grant this $200,000 scholarship for his opportunity in USF2000 next year.”