Ryan Blaney isn’t giving up in Truck title bid, fastest in 2nd practice at Homestead

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Ryan Blaney isn’t giving up on still trying to steal away the Camping World Truck Series championship from Matt Crafton.

After being third-fastest in the first of two practice sessions on Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Blaney shot to the top of the speed chart in the afternoon’s second session.

Blaney just barely missed 166 mph, clocking in with a field-best speed of 165.996 mph.

Crafton, meanwhile, after being fastest in the first session, was only 17th fastest in the second session (163.364 mph).

Just like the first practice session, Tyler Reddick was second-fastest again in the second session (165.817 mph), followed by Kyle Busch (165.771), Ross Chastain (165.675), Spencer Gallagher (165.451), Joe Nemechek (165.072), Jeb Burton (165.032), Darrell Wallace (164.986), Kyle Larson 164.961) and Daniel Hemric (164.916).

Timothy Peters was 11th fastest (164.765), followed by John Wes Townley (164.629), Bryan Silas (164.174), Ben Kennedy (164.074), Johnny Sauter (163.840), Joey Coulter (163.810), Matt Crafton (163.364), German Quiroga Jr. (163.206), Ty Dillon (162.680) and Tayler Malsam (162.597).

Thursday’s second practice was the final session for teams to work on their Trucks. Qualifying will take place at 2:45 pm ET on Friday, with the season-ending and championship-deciding later that evening at 8 pm ET.

The rest of the field’s times in Thursday’s final practice included:

Ray Black Jr. was 21st fastest (162.567), followed by Tyler Young (162.041), Matt Tifft (161.735), Mason Mitchell (161.536), Austin Hill (161.266), Mason Mingus (160.676), Kyle Martel (159.598), Justin Jennings (158.223), Jennifer Jo Cobb (154.577), Derek White (154.546), Wendell Chavous (154.515), Todd Peck (152.629), Jordan Anderson (150.485), Scott Stenzel (150.338) and Norm Benning (131.717).

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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.”