Hitachi re-ups with Penske, Castroneves in IndyCar

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Not much in the way of IndyCar news to report lately, but any partner news can be considered good news this time of year.

Team Penske already made a splash earlier Wednesday with the news Rusty Wallace would be testing the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Preseason Thunder on Thursday. Its IndyCar program now has a bit of news, with confirmation Hitachi will continue with Helio Castroneves as a primary sponsor for eight races.

In 2014, the Hitachi primary sponsorship for the No. 3 Chevrolet will be for races in St. Petersburg, Fla; Detroit; Newton, Iowa; Long Pond, Pa.; Lexington, Ohio; Milwaukee and Sonoma, Calif. Detroit is the lone doubleheader weekend on that schedule.

In addition, Hitachi will serve as an associate sponsor for the No. 2 and No. 12 entries driven by Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power, respectively. Montoya’s car’s primary sponsorship has not been announced yet, while Power will run his fifth full season in Verizon Team Penske colors.

“One of our goals at Penske Racing is to create true, integrated global partners for our race teams,” Roger Penske said in a release. “Hitachi Automotive Systems and the Hitachi Group have certainly represented this type of partnership with Team Penske. Working closely with Chevrolet on the fuel injection systems on our IndyCars, Hitachi has been instrumental in many of our race wins, but our relationship extends far beyond what you see on the racetrack.”

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”