Joe Gibbs marvels at Peyton Manning, picks Denver to win Super Bowl

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While he may be one of NASCAR’s more successful team owners these days, Joe Gibbs’ heart and soul isn’t far from his days as one of the most prolific head coaches in the NFL.

Gibbs took the Washington Redskins to four Super Bowls during his coaching tenure, winning three of them. As one of the most successful team owners in NASCAR, he also has three Sprint Cup championships.

And while he’s gearing up for the start of the 2014 NASCAR season in a few weeks, Gibbs — according to SportingNews.com — is picking Peyton Manning’s Broncos to win Sunday’s Super Bowl — if the weather cooperates.

“My Super Bowl pick would be Denver, as long as there is not a big wind,” Gibbs told SN with a laugh. “If there’s a big wind, I’m switching my deal. I’m going to go to the window and try and get my money back.”

In a more serious tone, Gibbs, who compiled a 171-101 record (63 percent winning percentage) in 16 seasons as an NFL head coach, is particularly keen on the Broncos’ offense and how Manning has brought the team this far.

“Their scheme is probably one of the best schemes ever in offensive football, because you’ve got a guy (Manning) who is that experienced, that accurate and that knowledgeable, and he’s actually calling everything from the line,” Gibbs said. “When we call it from sidelines, you’re just guessing.”

While he stops short of calling Manning the best quarterback he’s ever seen, Gibbs still marvels at Manning’s ability.

“Most teams obviously have audibles because you are trying to put it back in the quarterback’s hands because you’re not sure what the (defense is) going to play,” Gibbs said. “But when you see him (Manning) go to the line of scrimmage and all of a sudden you see him quick-snap that thing, and then you’ve got to get into whatever (defense) you are playing … And then he goes to the line of scrimmage and he backs out of there and now he is looking at what you’re doing and he’s making a call based off that, that scheme is obviously hard to stop.”

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.”