Report: Juan Pablo Montoya will not join Andretti Autosport

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Juan Pablo Montoya’s plans for 2014 have yet to be determined, but they won’t include an IZOD IndyCar Series drive with Andretti Autosport.

Montoya, who has been a free agent since being told by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing that he would not return to their Sprint Cup team next season, had been linked to a possible return to open-wheel racing with Michael Andretti’s team. However, per Marshall Pruett of RACER Magazine, the 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner has informed AA that he will not be joining them.

With Ryan Newman set to jump to Richard Childress Racing next season, the No. 78 Chevrolet of Furniture Row Racing remains in play this “Silly Season,” as Kurt Busch, its current driver, will be off to Stewart-Haas Racing at that time.

FRR and Montoya have held discussions about joining forces, and last weekend at Richmond International Raceway, FRR general manager Joe Garone seemed to indicate that a decision from their camp was near.

“It’s just a process,” he explained at the time to Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News. “Part of it is you just identify where you want to go – do you want to stay with a veteran or do you want to go with a younger rookie and bring a kid up?

“We’re just trying to get through that decision. You’ve got to take Juan seriously. He’s been around a while and obviously can win races.”

Montoya has turned up the wick performance-wise since he learned of EGR’s decision to cut him loose at season’s end. He’s netted a pair of Top-10s in the last three races and will start on the inside of Row 2 for Sunday’s Chase-opening GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Kyle Larson will be replacing Montoya in Earnhardt Ganassi’s No. 42 machine next season.

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.”