Viso looks for “lucky seven” mentally

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E.J. Viso and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers are always keen on physical training to make sure they can handle the rigors of racing. But mental preparation is just as essential.

In an interview with Cesar Diaz of LatinoSports.com, Viso reveals that he tries to manage his emotions on a scale of 1-10, with seven being the optimal place for him. It’s a lesson he picked up from a sports psychologist that he worked with “for many years” until he recently passed away.

“When we are under seven, we think more with our head,” said Viso. “But when we are above seven, we think more with our heart. Of course, the perfect decision will be coming when you make a decision combining both. That’s where, merging around seven, it’s going to happen.”

As for his exploits on the track, Viso has shown solid efforts on race day so far this season for Andretti Autosport. In the season opener at St. Petersburg, Viso climbed from 22nd starting position to seventh at the finish, and last Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, he gained two spots on the final lap to come home 12th.

But as can likely be gathered, qualifying has been a problem for him and his No. 5 team so far. It’s something that Viso is aiming to improve upon.

“So far, we’ve been weak in the two qualifying sessions in this championship,” he said to Diaz. “However, we’ve shown to be very fast and have good race craft during the race, so I believe that as soon as we improve qualifying, everything is going to come around.”

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.”