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Dan Clarke debuts, as Labonte and Fellows return

British open wheel racer Dan Clarke will make his US stock car début at Watkins Glan this weekend, while veterans Terry Labonte and Ron Fellows will also be back behind the wheel.
Britain's Dan Clarke will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series début at Watkins Glen International in the Means Racing #52 Chevrolet this weekend.

"I've enjoyed a lot of success in open wheel formula racing but I've wanted to try the NASCAR route for a while now," said Clarke, who raced full-time in the Champ Cars series for two years and last year competed in Indy Lights. Clarke had been expecting to compete in the regional NASCAR Canadian Tire Series this year, but ultimately fell foul of sponsorship problems before making a start.

"Now I have a shot at the NASCAR Nationwide series which is an even bigger opportunity and I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about the weekend," Clarke said in an announcement on his personal website.

The team are looking at Clarke's road course experience - which includes representing Team UK in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsports - to help them on the historic former Formula 1 track in New York state.

Other teams are also looking at importing specialist talent into their teams to boost their chances at the unique venue.

Two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte will also be racing at WGI this year, for the first time in four years. He'll take the Front Row Motorsports #38 Ford Cup car normally driven by Travis Kvapil.

"I had some really good runs there in the past," said Labonte. "I won some Nationwide races and won the pole there in the Cup car before. I've come close, some seconds and thirds, but I never won a Cup race. Just missed.

Meanwhile Tommy Baldwin Racing has turned to road course racing veteran Ron Fellows to take charge of the #36 Chevrolet Cup car at the Glen, alongside the team's regular driver Dave Blaney in the #35. Fellows has finished in second place twice at the Glen but last year was denied by broken suspension.

"I am excited to pick up where we left off last year," Fellows said. "It is always great to be a part of the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. We had a decent qualifying run last year at the Glen, but then didn't finish the race after we were running inside the top 15.

Fellows will also be driving for Dale Earnhart Jr's JR Motorsports Nationwide Series team on the road course, where he will be joined by reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson has not raced in Nationwide since 2008, preferring to concentrate on retaining his Cup championship. But this year he is seeking extra road course experience at WGI and will take the wheel of the #7 Chevrolet previously taken at various points this season by Fellows, Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Josh Wise and Kasey Kahne.

His appearance in Nationwide is backed by sponsorship from the launch of his "Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine" console game.



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