Command to start engines given for Nationwide race at Richmond (UPDATED, 10:20 p.m. ET)

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UPDATE (10:20 p.m. ET): And finally, at long last, the command to start engines has been given at Richmond International Raceway. A competition caution will be thrown at Lap 40 tonight, and teams are not allowed to get fuel until that point of the race. Be sure to keep following MotorSportsTalk for coverage this evening.

UPDATE (9:55 p.m. ET): The Air Titans continue to work, but pre-race ceremonies have been completed for tonight’s ToyotaCare 250.

UPDATE (9:30 p.m. ET): The aforementioned big shower was a quick one as well, and the Air Titans have been able to make significant progress drying out Richmond International Raceway.

Additionally, NASCAR has confirmed that driver intros are set to take place very shortly.

If there are no more pop-up showers, that could mean the ToyotaCare 250 will finally see the green flag within the hour. Fingers crossed.

However, another race on tonight’s schedule at RIR will not go off as scheduled. The K&N Pro Series East was set to run after the Nationwide Series but will instead have its race tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET according to reports.

UPDATE (8 p.m. ET): Another big shower has likely pushed the start of tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Richmond International Raceway back even further.

Here’s how it looks from the eyes – or more likely, the phone – of Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long:

NASCAR had hoped to get pre-race ceremonies underway at 7:45 p.m. ET, so all the drivers had to do was start engines when the track was dry. Instead…

This afternoon’s qualifying for the ToyotaCare 250 ended just before the rains started to soak the 3/4-mile bullring. In addition to delaying the Nationwide race, the rain scratched qualifying for tomorrow’s Toyota Owners 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Brian Scott is on the pole for tonight’s race, while Kyle Larson got the pole for tomorrow’s race after running the fastest lap in today’s first Sprint Cup practice session.

But for now, the only vehicles running at RIR are the Air Titans…

In case you want to keep track of the weather, here’s the current radar from the National Weather Service. When we get updates on a new timeline for tonight’s event, we’ll pass it along.

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.”