Helio on IndyCar title race: “We’re not trying to overdo it”

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With a victory at Texas earlier this summer and Top-10 results in all but one race, being steady has put Helio Castroneves atop the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. And so, he and Team Penske will look to keep on that course in the final six races of the year.

“The results we’ve achieved have come from our consistency,” Castroneves said on Wednesday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series will compete this weekend in the Honda Indy 200 (Sun., 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“We’re pushing the limit of the car and myself. We’re not trying to overdo it. If the cars good,  we’ll go for it. If the car’s not good, then we have to find ways to make it happen. That’s what we’ve done in the past. We’ve always been very close [to winning the championship] and right now, things are going our way. Hopefully, we keep it this way.”

Castroneves holds a 29-point lead going into this weekend’s race but Scott Dixon – a four-time winner at Mid-Ohio – has gotten closer to the Brazilian on the strength of three consecutive wins last month at Pocono and the Toronto doubleheader. Considering Dixon’s current run of success and his past body of work at M-O, it’s easy for one to assume that, barring trouble, he’ll find a way to at least shrink Castroneves’ lead further.

But with plenty of racing left in the season, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is keeping his eyes on what he and his No. 3 Penske squad can control and not on the hard-charging Dixon.

“It was good we’ve had these two weeks off, because our boys have been working to find things to help us that we haven’t seen before,” said Castroneves. “In that aspect, we’re not focusing on what [Dixon] is doing. We’re focusing on what we can do. But we know how good he’s going to be [at Mid-Ohio].”

Watch this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio online and on your mobile device.

IMSA: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Update – 3 hours in

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The opening hours of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring have been action-packed, with the early hours highlighted by racing that we would not expect from an endurance race.

For example, Acura Team Penske’s No. 7 ARX-05, currently fourth with Graham Rahal at the wheel, has had a couple run-ins with traffic, both from the Prototype and GT classes, as shown below.

Reports on happenings in the first three hours from all three classes are below.


Turn 1, Lap 1 proved to be a disaster for one of the contenders in Prototype. Olivier Pla, starting on the outside of the front row in the No.2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi, tried to pass polesitter Tristan Vautier, in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R, on the outside.

Vautier held his ground when Pla tried to pinch him against the inside wall, with the two making contact and sending Pla into a slide across the outside of the corner. Although he limped around back into the pits, the team ultimately uncovered a terminal gearbox issue, cause by the contact, and retired car, ending their race before it ever had a chance to get going.

The lone caution of the opening hours also came in the Prototype class. Sebastian Saavedra, in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, spun exiting Turn 17. In trying to avoid, Frank Montecalvo, in the GT Daytona class No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa, drifted out wide, but made contact with the right-front of Saavedra, which launched Montecalvo airborne and into the tire barriers exiting the corner.

Montecalvo emerged unhurt from the spectacular incident, while Saavedra returned to the pits for a new front nose on the No. 52 Ligier, and continued on.

Vautier, meanwhile, continued on unscathed and led the opening stint.

Just over three hours in, Eric Curran leads in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac for Action Express. The No. 22 ESM Nissan sits second in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre, with Jordan Taylor third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

BMW Team RLL has dominated the opening hours of the 12 Hours of Sebring, with their No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM leading the way early on. Nicky Catsburg is currently behind the wheel.

Risi Competizion currently holds down second, with Alessandro Pier Guidi currently at the helm of their No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing holds third with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT, though they had a clumsy run-in with the sister No. 66 in the pits early on, with both cars bumping each other exiting the pits.

However, no damage was done and both carried on.

GT Daytona

The polesitting No. 51 Ferrari from Spirit of Race also had a messy start to their 12 Hours of Sebring, with Daniel Serra getting together with the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, in the hands Jack Hawksworth at the time. The contact cut the right-rear tire of Serra, forcing an early pit stop. They now sit 16th in class.

Montaplast by Land Motorsport leads in the way in the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with 17-year-old youngster Sheldon van der Linde at the helm. Running second is Corey Lewis in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with 3GT Racing sitting third with Kyle Marcelli in the No. 14 Lexus.