Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that doctors have not cleared Dale Earnhardt Jr. to compete in this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway and the Sept. 4 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Alex Bowman will drive the No. 88 car at Michigan. Jeff Gordon will be back in the car at Darlington. “We know how hard Dale is working to get back,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, in a statement.
Coming into this season, there would need to be a hump Mikhail Aleshin would have to get over on ovals for his second full season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. As a result partially of that and more so owing to political upheaval for sponsor SMP Racing, he couldn’t get a full-time ride in 2015 and was able to make just one IndyCar start: the season finale at Sonoma, California (finished 10th). Aleshin not only started on the pole in Monday’s weather-rescheduled ABC Supply 500 race at Pocono Raceway, he finished runner-up to race winner Will Power, tying Aleshin’s career best in the series (Houston 2014). Admittedly, he struggled results-wise earlier this season on ovals at Phoenix (finished 17th) and in the Indianapolis 500 (27th).
This is really good news from the world of sports car racing, to see that Ben Keating is not only continuing his program despite the end of the Dodge Viper GT3-R’s lifespan, but actually expanding to step up to a full-time Prototype effort for 2017 and beyond. ViperExchange.com principal and driver Ben Keating has announced the purchase of a new Riley Mk. 30 LMP2 race car and that he has signed co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen for a fourth-consecutive season in 2017. Keating’s full racing program for his new LMP2 effort is being finalized, but he is presently targeting a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans the next three years and a campaign in the IMSA WeatherTech Jim Trueman Award sub-championship in 2017.