Kyle Busch fastest in first of two Nationwide Series practices on Friday at Fontana

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Kyle Busch – like you expected someone else, right? – was the fastest overall driver in Friday’s first of two Nationwide Series practice sessions at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Busch, who won last week’s NNS race at Bristol, has been on a tear in NASCAR’s junior circuit. In addition to his win at Bristol, he also won at Phoenix, was second at his hometown track in Las Vegas and his overall “worst” NNS finish thus far this season was fourth in the 2014 opener at Daytona.

Busch was the only driver over 174 mph in Friday’s first session at 174.157 mph, followed by three fellow Sprint Cup drivers, Kevin Harvick (173.519), Joey Logano (173.281) and Matt Kenseth (173.244).

The fastest full-time NNS driver was Trevor Bayne (172.678).

Only 35 cars practiced for Saturday’s TreatMyClot.com 300. The slowest was Carlos Contreras at 153.866., more than 21 mph behind Busch’s speed.

Here’s the results for Friday’s first of two practice sessions for the NASCAR Nationwide Series:

1 Kyle Busch 174.157

2 Kevin Harvick 173.519

3 Joey Logano 173.281

4 Matt Kenseth 173.244

5 Trevor Bayne 172.678

6 Chase Elliott 172.616

7 Dylan Kwasniewski 172.509

8 Brian Scott 172.505

9 David Ragan 172.191

10 Regan Smith 172.125

 

11Ty Dillon 172.101

12 Kyle Larson 171.916

13 Brendan Gaughan 171.572

14 James Buescher 171.249

15 Elliott Sadler 171.221

16 Mike Bliss 171.127

17 JJ Yeley 170.503

18 Ryan Sieg 170.189

19 Ryan Reed 169.960

20 David Starr 168.741

 

21 Chris Buescher 168.512

22 Dakoda Armstrong 168.496

23 Landon Cassill 168.476

24 Jeremy Clements 168.366

25 Mike Wallace 168.004

26 Matt DiBenedetto 167.348

27 Jamie Dick 167.123

28 Josh Wise 167.030

29 Tanner Berryhill 166.995

30 Kevin Lepage 166.459

 

31 Jeffrey Earnhardt 165.468

32 Eric McClure 165.225

33 Daryl Harr 162.848

34 Joey Gase 161.478

35 Carlos Contreras 153.866

 

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Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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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.”