Colton Herta, Lando Norris preview IndyCar iRacing Challenge at COTA

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IndyCar’s iRacing Challenge will continue Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or via streaming) with yet another star-studded field.

There are 33 drivers entered in the race at virtual Circuit of The Americas, highlighted by the addition of Formula One’s Lando Norris.

Also joining Norris as iRacing Challenge newcomers are Australian Supercars driver Chaz Mostert and IndyCar veteran Spencer Pigot.

ENTRY LISTWho will be racing in round five

IndyCar made its real-life debut at COTA last year with an exciting weekend that saw Colton Herta become the youngest winner in series history at just shy of 19 years old.

Herta has been practicing and is hopeful that Saturday’s race will be just as exciting for fans. While Herta said he misses being at the real track, iRacing provides a somewhat realistic feeling of what it would be like.

“It still kind of keeps your mind sharp and gets you in the mindset of actually competing so it does help,” Herta told reporters Friday. “Even though it’s not the real thing, it’s the best thing we’ve got right now.”

Herta also said the simulation also does a fairly good job of emulating certain real-life aspects of the car and track.

“I think relative terms like the ‘dirty air’ and how the tires go off, it is really good,” Herta said. “I think if you hop on the sim for an hour or two before each race weekend, it’s good for learning the track, it’s good for knowing where the bumps are so you’re not wasting that time on actual race weekends trying to find out lines and stuff.”

Sim racing also has provided the opportunity for drivers from different disciplines to race against each other, which Norris appreciates.

“That’s one of the cool things about all of this, you’re getting all the different drivers from different sports but also from different categories of racing,” Norris said. “Everyone is coming from a different area.

“Sometimes you would maybe never get to race against these people in your career. Virtually you’re still racing against these people with different skills and attributes. Obviously, for me coming in and joining you in IndyCar, it’s an opportunity for me to race the IndyCar guys.”

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Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll


Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.