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Motorbike racer Paulo Gonçalves dies during Dakar Rally

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WADI AL-DAWASIR, Saudi Arabia — Portuguese motorbike rider Paulo Gonçalves died on the Dakar Rally after crashing in the Saudi Arabia desert on Sunday. He was 40.

Gonçalves fell and suffered cardiac arrest about halfway through the 546-kilometer (339-mile) seventh stage, south of the Saudi capital Riyadh. Australian rider Toby Price then Argentina’s Kevin Benavides stopped to help, and a medical helicopter arrived on the scene within eight minutes of being alerted, rally organizers said on their website.

He was flown to nearby Layla hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“The Dakar mourns Paulo Gonçalves, one of the most experienced and beloved champions of the rally-raid family,” organizers said on their website.

The eighth stage on Monday, a loop course around Wadi Al-Dawasir, was canceled for motorbike and quad racers “in order to give the riders time to mourn their friend,” organizers said.

They added, “Paulo … was immensely respected by both veterans and less experienced competitors who admired and were inspired by him.”

Gonçalves was competing in his 13th Dakar. He was runner-up in 2015.

He’s the first competitor to die on the Dakar Rally, the world’s toughest rally, since Polish motorcyclist Michal Hernik in 2015 in Argentina. Two non-competitors were killed in 2016 in crashes with vehicles.

Benavides was deducted the six minutes-plus he stopped and declared the winner of the stage to Wadi Al Dawasir.

Price, the defending champion, stopped for more than an hour and his time was adjusted so he was within 29 minutes of overall leader Ricky Brabec of the United States.

Cars leader Carlos Sainz won his third stage and extended his lead to 10 minutes over second-placed defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.

The rally ends on Friday.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.