Castroneves: Teammate Power is “top contender” at Sao Paulo

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Team Penske’s Will Power is taking a year-long winless streak into this weekend’s IZOD IndyCar Series race at Sao Paulo, but championship leader Helio Castroneves isn’t about to discount his Australian teammate’s chances of rallying for a big win before the all-important Indianapolis 500.

“There’s been a lot of competition this year, even more than in the past, so it’s hard to say there’s a favorite for Sunday’s race,” Castroneves said at a pre-event press conference according to the Associated Press’ Tales Azzoni. “But you can’t avoid talking about my teammate as the top contender; there’s no doubt he has been really successful here in the past.”

Ain’t that the truth. Power has claimed all three editions of the Sao Paulo Indy 300 at Anhembi Park and last year, he won from pole last while leading the most laps (63 of 75). Even with his shaky start to 2013, he’s definitely still a contender at this track.

But Castroneves appears poised to be the one that can finally dust Power in Brazil. He’s one of just three drivers in the series to post Top 10 runs in all three races (the others being Marco Andretti and Justin Wilson) this season, and jumped 14 positions to finish fourth last year in Sao Paulo.

“I hadn’t even realized at first but this has been my best start to a season ever,” said Castroneves. “I made a mistake in the first race — I should have won that one. But we have been really consistent.”

Consistency aside, a victory in his hometown of Sao Paulo would put him in solid position to become the fourth four-time winner of the Indy 500 later on this month.

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold