Lawsuits coming after Daytona accident?

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When you go to a race as a fan, the last thing you should expect or fear is accident debris entering the grandstands.

That’s why some of those injured in last Saturday’s accident in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway could be exploring legal action.

An Orlando-based lawyer for fans injured, Matt Morgan, told the AP he hopes to reach a settlement with NASCAR to avoid any lawsuits.

A NASCAR spokesman said he was not aware of any lawsuits, while a Daytona spokesman said they would not comment on pending litigation.

There are several aspects of what led to this accident. The Nationwide cars have lesser horsepower than the Sprint Cup Series, and while the Sprint Cup’s new Generation 6 car ran primarily in single file formation throughout the Daytona 500, the Nationwide cars ran more in a huge pack. That meant a greater likelihood of a “big one” accident.

Additionally, the accident itself was triggered by contact between leader Regan Smith and Brad Keselowski behind him. When Keselowski pulled out to pass as the field headed into the tri-oval, Smith moved to defend but came too far over on top of him. That triggered the chaos and the speed of cars behind them helped send Kyle Larson’s car airborne and into the catch fencing.

Keselowski was also involved in NASCAR’s last two car-into-fence moments, each with Carl Edwards. Going for the win at Talladega in April 2009, Keselowski and Edwards collided with Edwards’ car spiraling airborne and careening off the fencing, in front of the grandstands. Edwards retaliated on Keselowski in a Sprint Cup race at Atlanta in 2010.

The litigation may pass, but the discussion about both the catch fencing and the style of racing that has caused these accidents has only just begun. For more, see “IndyCar champions seek fence changes.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”