Vitor Meira has decided to end his ten-year career in the IZOD IndyCar Series in the United States in favour of a return to his native Brazil and a seat in the Campeonato Brasileiro de Stock Car, the major motor sports series in the country.

Meira announced this week that he is joining the Officer ProGP Chevrolet-powered team, partnering with Duda Pamplona. The first round of the national touring car championship takes place at Interlagos on March 25.

"Everything has a beginning and an end," he told Brazilian media this week, clearly sad to be calling time on his IndyCar career. "I just have to thank all teams in Indy for the whole fantastic experience I have acquired over the past ten years," he said.

"I had some proposals to continue racing in the United States, but I strongly believe that the right decision at this time will be to enter Stock Car, one of the best categories of touring cars in the world."

He hasn't entirely ruled out the occasional return to US racing however, and tweeted on Friday: "FYI, I'm still working in some races in IndyCar!"

Meira has been racing in IndyCar since he made his d?but at Kentucky Speedway for Team Menard in the 2002 season, and he went on to claim his first career pole at Texas Motor Speedway a little over a month later, after just four starts.

He went on to race for Rahal Letterman Racing and then to Panther Racing with whom he enjoyed his best season in IndyCar in 2006, when he claimed three second-place finishes and three third-place results on his way to claiming fifth in the season championship.

Most recently Meira has spent three seasons with AJ Foyt Enterprises, although the first of those in 2009 saw him sustain two broken vertebrae in his lower back after a crash with Raphael Matos during the Indianapolis 500, which put him out of racing for the rest of the year. In 2011 Meira finished in 15th place in the championship, with his best result being fifth place in the eventful street race in Toronto.

However the recent announcement that Mike Conway is to take over Meira's most recent race seat in the #14 ABC Supply/AJ Foyt car for 2012 had left the 34-year-old Brazilian driver once again shopping around for a new IndyCar team, and instead of following that well-trodden path one more time he's decided it's time for a change of scenery.

"It's time for a new start, and I saw that it was the right moment to return to Brazil Stock Car," he explained. "I was very well received by Duda and the entire team, and can't wait to get my car up to speed. My goal is for a rapid transition to Stock Car, and it may prove to be the start of a long career [in the series.]"

His new team mate, Duda Pamplona, was delighted to be able to welcome a driver of Meira's experience on board.

"Officer ProGP is excited to sign a driver with Victor's know-how, he will contribute much to us all," he said. "It is a great advantage for the team to have a driver of his calibre. There's already a great rapport, which will be a great asset for the 2012 season."

AJ Foyt released from hospital

AJ Foyt was released from hospital last weekend, after spending several days being treated for complications from earlier knee surgery.

An infection had sent the 77-year-old back to hospital in Houston just days before he was due to serve as grand marshall for the 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona endurance event. His role at the event was taken instead by Sir Jackie Stewart.

A spokeswoman for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Foyt had been released from hospital but that he was still taking antibiotics for the infection.

The 24 Hours of Daytona was eventually won by the Michael Shank Racing car driven by Justin Wilson, AJ Allmendinger, Ozz Negri and John Pew.

Foyt is the only driver to have won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans during his long and illustrious racing career.