Mixed fortunes for TSM youngsters Kwasniewski, Burton

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Turner Scott Motorsports’ 2014 efforts have changed in the last few days. One of its drivers, who was poised for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title, is now out of a full-time ride, while another driver will have a chance at a full-time season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series ranks.

The bad news first: Jeb Burton’s No. 4 Truck team was shuttered over the weekend, when sponsor Arrowhead electronic cigarettes defaulted on payments. Burton won his first race in 2013 and finished fifth in points; he was a likely title contender in 2014.

“Racing is kind of my whole life, and to have it kind of taken from me because of something I don’t have any control over is devastating to my family and I,” said the son of former Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton, via NASCAR.com.

TSM’s lone full-time NCWTS driver will be Ben Kennedy, with a part-time effort featuring Brandon Jones and other drivers to be named later.

On the Nationwide side, TSM confirmed Dylan Kwasniewski, 18, will compete in a full season with sponsor Rockstar Energy Drink in the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro. Kwasniewski is the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion.

“The test session earlier this month at Daytona taught us a lot and it’s good to enter Daytona with a level of confidence, not only for myself, but for Pat (Tryson) and all the guys,” he said in a release. The aforementioned Pat is Pat Tryson, who will be his crew chief this year.

Kyle Larson is also set for a full year in Nationwide for TSM, to go along with his Sprint Cup Series commitments with Chip Ganassi Racing.

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.”