Very vroom: Josh Wise finishes 20th at ‘Dega in DogeCoin car

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After rising into the Top 5 with less than 25 laps to go in today’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, Josh Wise and his crowd-funded No. 98 DogeCoin Ford was shuffled back in the final stages and ultimately finished 20th.

Wise narrowly avoided a four-car pileup with 14 laps to go by going through the middle of the melee, which enveloped Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Michael McDowell. He avoided further incidents for the remainder, but was unable to make headway.

However, while the final result left something to be desired, seeing the car battle with the leaders must have still been a thrill for those on Reddit who chose to back Wise with the digital “cryptocurrency” for today’s race.

Afterwards on Reddit’s Dogecoin page, reaction was overwhelmingly positive. One poster, Super_Bob, hailed the result as a success and asked users to give Wise and the small Phil Parsons Racing team a “high paw” – a nod to DogeCoin’s canine mascot, ‘Doge’ the Shiba Inu – for their efforts.

“The race started with 43 cars, think about how many of those 43 teams that are not one of the top big money brands (Lowe’s, KFC, GoDaddy, etc.) that got that kind of camera + announcer attention and an explanation of what the sponsor was about, hardly any,” he wrote.

“This was viewed millions around the country. Josh was in the lead pack for several laps and was noticed and mentioned more than once by the announcers, this was great exposure for us and curious people will do exactly what we wanted: Learn what Dogecoin is.”

On Twitter, PPR and Wise showed they were equally grateful in turn for the Reddit/Dogecoin support. Team and driver enjoyed noticeable mainstream media attention leading up to today’s event, and no doubt that it created a few more fans for the sport.

All in all, a worthwhile endeavor for all parties involved.

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.”