IndyCar: Bryan Herta Autosport/Green1 announce Indy 500 entry for Jay Howard

2 Comments

There are generally some Indianapolis 500 announcements that come in the offseason, but early November as a projected second car for a usual one-car team would have to come as a surprise for most Verizon IndyCar Series observers.

Nonetheless, such is the situation where Bryan Herta Autosport/BBM has today announced it has partnered with Green1 – listed on its website as a powerful 100% Bio Based, (non petro chemical), non toxic, non hazardous, authentic 100% green degreaser / cleaner – to run Jay Howard in the No. 97 Dallara-Honda entry.

It would be the projected second car to the team’s full-time No. 98 entry, which seeks a driver to replace Jack Hawksworth for the 2015 season. Hawksworth has moved to a second full-time car at A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

“Although this is early to announce an Indy 500 entry, we wanted to put this exciting news out right away,” Herta said in a team release. “We have been using Green1 in our shop for years now and believe in the quality of the product as well as the performance and safety it gives us.  We will be working closely in the upcoming months with the team at Green1 to seek additional partners who share Green1’s vision and core values to expand this program to additional races and venues with Jay at the wheel.”

Howard has had something of a checkered history in IndyCar and in the Indianapolis 500 in particular. He was pulled from the cockpit of his Roth Racing entry in 2008 for John Andretti, then his time was withdrawn when it would have been fast enough to qualify for the 2010 race with Sarah Fisher Racing.

He finally made his first and thus far only start in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 in a jointly entered Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry – coincidentally, in the year where Herta’s team won the 500 with the late Dan Wheldon. Howard has not driven an IndyCar since the weekend of the canceled 2011 season finale at Las Vegas.

“There are no words that can describe how happy I am for this opportunity,” Howard said in the release. “The entire BHA team from Bryan, BBM, the guys in the shop, they all have the same determination and passion to win as I do, so it is a perfect fit. I have personal knowledge in what a unique industry changing technology Green1 is, and piloting the car for the Green1 alliance will be an honor. I am also on board in doing my part, by sharing my knowledge and helping make the world a better, safer, cleaner, place.”

This is the second confirmed one-off Indianapolis 500 entry for 2015, joining the KV Racing/Byrd Racing entry for Bryan Clauson. Foyt confirmed during its Hawksworth/Takuma Sato announcement last week it will only run two cars for next year’s Indianapolis 500, rather than add a car as it traditionally has done.

Herta was in Austin this weekend for some meetings, and is working towards finalizing the program on the team’s full-season entry.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”