Indy 500 fines for Rahal team rescinded

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An odd situation dating back to last weekend’s Indianapolis 500 appears to have been resolved.

In the middle of the ‘500,’ INDYCAR announced $10,000 fines for both Rahal Letterman Lanigan teams (the No. 15 of Graham Rahal and No. 16 of James Jakes) due to blend line violations. Team owner Bobby Rahal indicated that they would plan on appealing the fines, but today, the sanctioning body announced that Rahal’s fine has been withdrawn and Jakes’ fine has been suspended.

According to the release issued from the series, officials determined after a post-race review of video and timing/scoring data that Rahal did not break Rule, which focuses on blend out procedures while leaving pit road.

Those same officials also determined that Jakes did not comply with that rule, but still opted to suspend his fine provided he does not have a similar violation in the future; if that occurs, the fine and additional penalties will be re-instated.

“They went out of the pits and committed a felony, but they put themselves back in position where they should have been before the green,” INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker said Saturday to the Associated Press before the first Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit race. “They had varying degrees of guilt, and Graham was probably the lesser of two evils on the penalty.”

As for Bobby Rahal, he believed that INDYCAR made the original call in “the heat of the moment.”

“And then when you hear from other people and their perspectives, it’s ‘Oh, well maybe,'” he said to the AP.

Graham Rahal finished ninth in Saturday’s Race 1, with Jakes right behind him in 10th.

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.”