Kyle Busch sweeps past John Hunter Nemechek on final turn to win ARCA CRA late-model event

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BROWNSBURG, Ind. – In an exciting finish that featured plenty of beating and banging, Kyle Busch waited until the final turn of the final lap to get by John Hunter Nemechek and win Friday night’s ARCA CRA Super Series Circle City 100 late-model event at Lucas Oil Raceway.

“It was a fun race, I enjoyed it,” Busch said. “We’ve had a lot of great runs in this late model car over the years. I won the race the same way Earnhardt would. There’s opportunities like young guys like John Hunter that’s going to take them a long ways.

“I just timed it right. I got alongside him and it was a drag race from there. I had just enough. … He blocked me for 85 laps or whatever, but we had enough at the end.”

Busch defeated Nemechek, son of Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Joe Nemecheck, by 0.024 seconds on the .686-mile track just west of Indianapolis.

Nemechek took the lead early in the race from Ross Kenseth, son of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Matt Kenseth and held on until Busch snuck past him when Nemechek went toward the middle of the track, Busch went to the top and held on to steal away what looked like a certain win for Nemechek.

“It was definitely an awesome run,” Nemechek said. “It just sucks to lose it after leading all those laps, but if you’re going to lose it it’s best to do it to the guy who won it.”

Chad Finley finished third, followed by Alec Caril, Traves Braden, Willie Allen, Wes Griffith, Jr., Ross Kenseth, Todd Gilliland (son of Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland) and Brandon Oakley in 10th.

From 11th to 20th it was Brian Campbell, Will Kimmel, Mark Lambert, Rick Turner, Jeff Canon, David Ragan (yes, the Sprint Cup driver), Trey Jarrell, Thomas Woodin, Mike Lichfield and Jeep Pflum.

From 21st through 27th were Paul Shafer Jr., Matt Hall, Tommy St. John, Zane Smith, Justin Claucherty, Ali Kern and Justin Ashburn.

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

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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.”