Rico Abreu says there’s still a lot for him to learn after 1st stock car race

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If not for a rear-end failure with less than 15 laps to go, Rico Abreu would have likely finished seventh in his stock car debut last night at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway when you factor in the disqualifications of the race winner and third-place finisher.

Instead, Abreu had to settle for a 13th place result in the Pete Orr Memorial 100 Super Late Model event.

A lot of that can be chalked up to avoiding a pair of multi-car incidents along the way, but at the end of the night, he had still made an impressive jump of 10 spots from where he began. That’s not a bad way to begin your stock car career.

Early this morning, he tweeted his thoughts on Saturday’s proceedings:

That last part of the tweet is the main goal right now for Abreu, the 4-foot-4 sprint car sensation that will also compete full-time for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

Abreu further elaborated about his night to Motorsport.com, saying that he had good long-run pace but failed to “get up on the wheel” in restart situations.

“I moved around more and felt where the car was comfortable,” Abreu added. “My spotter, Frank, helped me a lot telling me where the line was, and when I turned a good lap and a bad lap.”

“It’s just about getting comfortable. And these aren’t really long races, but they are a lot longer than I’m used to in sprint cars and midgets. I’m planning to come back here and test before [New Smyrna’s February] Speedweeks. I still have a lot to learn.”

Abreu will open his 2015 K&N East campaign on Feb. 15 at New Smyrna as part of its World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing (Feb. 12-21). In addition to the K&N East race, events for Super Late Models and Pro Late Models will be in abundance throughout that week.

While Abreu is not yet on an entry list for those latter races, it would not be surprising if he pops up to get more stock car seat time.

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.”