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Danica Patrick says that there have been ‘some’ discussions for 2018

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DOVER, Delaware — Danica Patrick, who is without a ride for next season, says she’s had “some but not a ton” of discussions about 2018.

Patrick will complete her fifth and final season with Stewart-Haas Racing this year. She stated Sept. 12 in a Facebook posting that she would not return to the team because of lack of sponsorship. Patrick enters Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway 28th in the points.

She has said that she only wants a Cup ride and one that is competitive. Very few such rides appear available for next season.

“As I’ve said for a good while now, I let business people in my business handle that and have those conversations and figure out what options are out there, and I’m going to let them do that,” Patrick said Friday at Dover International Speedway after announcing her car will be pink this weekend and next at Charlotte to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink she is running at Dover and Charlotte (Photo: Getty Images)

Whether Patrick races in NASCAR next year, she will have accomplished more than any other female driver in the series. She won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first woman to do so. While critics will point to her having seven top-10 finishes in 182 starts, she has run more races than any other female driver in series history.

Asked about her proudest moment in NASCAR, Patrick said:

“The one that will stand out is qualifying on the pole for the Daytona 500 as the media results of that were something like winning the fourth biggest race of the year, even though it’s just for qualifying. That one will be the biggest one that will stand out. There have been lots of little races along the way that I have felt have been much more difficult and much more representative of the hard work that I’ve put into the sport. But those don’t stand out because those weren’t wins or top fives. But top 10s and things like that and some runs that I’ve had have meant more to me. I definitely think pulling back a little further than individual events is the inspiration that you’ve been told you bring to people, especially to kids, that’s a role that you can’t buy your way into. You have to earn that. You just can’t stumble onto that, especially having been around a long time now. That’s probably the most meaningful.

“Do I think that I’ve had the best car on track with the best engine, the best, best, best, best, best? Probably not. Have I had good teams? Absolutely. Have I had good equipment? Absolutely. The challenges are those last little details and having a group of people around you that believe that you can do it and are willing to go beyond the call of duty for the job and go the extra mile.

“My very first engineer in IndyCar uses a reference that comes to mind. He called it the “100 Hand Theory.” If you stick one hand out the window, it doesn’t make a difference. If your stick 100 (hands) it does. All those small, small, small little details that stack up to make something special that goes out on track, yeah, that’s something that always hasn’t been there. I do think that I’ve always had good equipment.”

As Patrick considers her options for next year, could IndyCar be in the mix?

“No,’’ she said. “I’m not planning on anything, going back to IndyCar. Never say never as I’ve said for many years because I’m getting so old and I know things can change. My life changes in ways that I wouldn’t expect it every couple of years. You just can’t cross off anything on the list completely.”

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Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 20

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The annual NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will return to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, the day after the 2018 Hall of Fame class is inducted.

Fans will be able to take part in an autograph session with current national series drivers, Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends.

Admission to Hall of Fame will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis

Admission to driver autograph sessions is free but will require a ticket for participation. Fans can register for the driver autograph sessions at nascarhall.com beginning Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. A full driver autograph session schedule will be announced at a later date.

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Ryan Blaney to guest star on NBC’s ‘Taken’ next year

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Ryan Blaney has a particular set of skills; skills that he’s developed through years of professional auto racing.

The Team Penske driver will get to display those skills next year on NBC’s “Taken” TV Series.

The show serves as a prequel to the 2008 Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Blaney, 23, will guest start on the second season of the series, which premieres Jan. 12. He will appear in an episode titled “Imperium” as a special agent who knows his way around a car.

Here’s the plot synopsis for the episode.

“When a dangerous weapons dealer smuggles his wares into New York City, Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) teams up with the FBI in a race to stop him before he reaches the safety of international waters.”

This won’t be Blaney’s first time in front of a camera playing someone else. He had two movie cameos this year in Logan Lucky and Cars 3.

Blaney was filming his role in “Taken” on Tuesday in Ontario. See his tweets from the set below.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram update: Leaves ICU, moves to acute care facility

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram’s condition continues to improve following a serious car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina on Dec. 3.

According to an online post by his daughter, Ingram was taken out of Intensive Care on Tuesday and moved into an Acute Care facility, which is not as serious as ICU is.

Ingram did suffer a small setback in his recovery, developing a slight infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Added the note from Ingrid Jones, Jack’s daughter, “The acute care facility will work to start decreasing his pain meds, over time, and put him on less narcotics and more simple analgesics (like really strong Tylenol, but without narcotics).

“Also they will continue his therapies, physical and occupational, as he’s able. It is still hard to know what his long-term health future will be, but we think his color looks really good, and we have no doubts that he has the will and determination to see this through.

“So if it is humanly possible for him to overcome, he will.”

We’ll continue to have periodic updates on Ingram’s condition as they become available.