Darlington, Kansas to swap 2014 NASCAR dates; Kansas also adds sports car date

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NASCAR races at Darlington Raceway and Kansas Speedway will swap dates for 2014 as part of a revised full season Sprint Cup schedule.

Darlington shifts from its Mother’s Day Saturday night race in May to Saturday, April 12 for the Bojangles Southern 500, with the Nationwide Series on the Friday, April 11.

Kansas will now run the first of its two Cup races on Saturday night, May 10, with the Camping World Trucks Friday night, May 9. The race’s second Cup date will still be in October, on Oct. 5.

NASCAR has yet to release its full 2014 Sprint Cup schedule, but it should be out within the next couple weeks.

Kansas also dropped a nugget as it pertains to support and developmental series running with the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, per an MRN Radio release.

The track’s infield road course hosted a round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series this year, won by Jordan Taylor over Scott Pruett in a knockdown, drag-out fight. But Kansas did not make the 2014 TUDOR Championship schedule for United SportsCar.

The track announced that the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, IMSA Prototype Lites and IMSA Porsche GT3 Challenge will race on the road course on June 7. They are three of the series set to run with the TUDOR Championship on its schedule, or independently on some weekends.

Expect this as the first of several announcements where these or other series could be racing at tracks that did not secure a date on the 2014 TUDOR Championship calendar.

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.”