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Joe Garone joins Pikes Peak International Raceway as COO

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Former Furniture Row Racing president and general manager Joe Garone has been hired as the chief operating officer at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado.

Garone worked for Barney Visser’s NASCAR Cup team for more than a decade until the Denver-based No. 78 shut down after the 2018 season. Last year, Garone was the president of Spire Motorsports’s No. 77 team, which won a rain-shortened race at Daytona International Speedway with Justin Haley.

According to a release from the track, Garone “will continue his relationship with Spire Sports & Entertainment to obtain sponsorship for both Spire and PPIR events and programs.” The Denver native will be focused on expanding PPIR’s business “with music and motorsports-style festivals.”

Garone also will bring the Falci Adaptive Motorsports to a new year-round home at the track. The program, which helps paraplegic, quadriplegic and disabled individuals drive Cup cars without hands and feet, had received race cars from Visser and Furniture Row Racing.

“I’m beyond excited to return to Colorado and play a key role in enhancing the unique events already taking place at Pikes Peak International Raceway,” Garone said in a release. “Our goal is to build a strong foundation that will allow us to entice even larger talent to provide world-class entertainment for our audiences.”

Garone is the second key member of Furniture Row Racing’s 2017 championship team to make a recent move. In December, Cole Pearn, the crew chief for Martin Truex Jr., announced he was leaving NASCAR and his job at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Pikes Peak International Raceway, which includes a 1-mile oval, a 1.3-mile road course, a one-eighth of a mile drag strip and meeting space, once was the site of NASCAR and IndyCar races. The facility currently plays host to festivals, concerts and performance driving programs.

Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter