Richard Petty Motorsports seeks sponsorship for 26 races for Hornish


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Richard Petty Motorsports official says the team is committed to running Sam Hornish Jr. all season but seeks sponsorship for 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup races.

Co-owner Andrew Murstein will provide sponsorship for some races through his company – Medallion Bank – but Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer of RPM, says the team is looking to find other sponsors.

RPM announced Wednesday that Twisted Tea will be Hornish’s primary sponsor for the Daytona 500 and the July Daytona race. The company will be an associate sponsor the rest of the season.

Moffitt said that Aric Almirola’s No. 43 team – which made the Chase last year – is set with sponsorship from Smithfield, STP, the U.S. Air Force and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Moffitt said the team has had talks with Smithfield about an extension. Smithfield’s contract, which goes through 2016, calls for the company to serve as primary sponsor in 29 races this year and next.

Hornish, who enters his first season with Richard Petty Motorsports, says he’s focused on racing even though sponsorship remains on his car less than a month before the season begins.

“There’s no concern on my mind on whether or not they’re going to go out and do what they said they were going to do this year,’’ Hornish said. “Hopefully, they’re bringing me in for the performance, competition side of it, but I’m also doing everything that I can help them do on the sponsorship side.’’

Despite lacking sponsorship on Hornish’s car, Moffitt said the team hired 35 people and moved back into its former shop in Mooresville, N.C. The team’s affiliation with Roush Fenway Racing continues. Roush Fenway provides Richard Petty Motorsports with chassis. The teams also have a research and development relationship, Moffitt said.

“We’re committed to continuing to grow Richard Petty Motorsports back to a dominant team and with that Andy Murstein and Richard are continuing to invest in the team,’’ Moffitt said. “We believe you need to be a two-car team to be successful in this sport.’’

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.”