Chicago Update: Engines restarted, race set to get back underway

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UPDATE (9:55 p.m. ET) — The drivers have been given the command to restart their engines. Hope you all have put some coffee on for the night-time conclusion of Race 1 of the 2013 Chase.

UPDATE (9:40 p.m. ET) — More good news: Drivers are now being called to their cars and the crews have now returned to the pits.

UPDATE (9:25 p.m. ET) — NASCAR has called its inspectors to the cars on pit road. Teams are now being allowed to hook up generators to their respective cars, which are losing their covers as well.

UPDATE (8:23 p.m. ET) — NASCAR senior vice president Steve O’Donnell has Tweeted the following: “Dry strip coming in on track. Looking like 9 central at this point.” Let’s hope his prediction comes true and we can get back to business tonight.

UPDATE (8:10 p.m. ET) — Track drying continues at the Chicagoland Speedway, where the GEICO 400 – the opening race in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup – remains under a red flag after 110 of 267 laps run.

According to a report from the Motor Racing Network, the rain has eased up at the 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, Illinois but a light mist still remains. However, that has not managed to stop the jet dryers from making their rounds in a bid to get the track back.

At Lap 107, the yellow flag came out when rain returned to the track after the start of the race had been delayed for more than an hour. When the red flag came out at Lap 110, Matt Kenseth, the Chase’s top seed, was leading, with Brad Keselowski in second, pole sitter Joey Logano in third, Jimmie Johnson in fourth, and Kyle Busch in fifth.

In case you need a catch-up on the race so far, here’s a recap up to the red flag. I’ll pass along any updates on the track conditions as soon as I get them.

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.”