Roush Fenway Racing continues to look for sponsorship for Wallace

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Darrell Wallace Jr. is planning to run a full XFINITY season but there are no guarantee he will, as Roush Fenway Racing continues the sponsorship hunt for Wallace’s team.

The 21-year-old who won four Camping World Truck Series races last season, moved to Roush after the season when Joe Gibbs Racing could not find sufficient sponsorship to put him in a full-time XFINITY ride.

Roush Fenway Racing now faces that challenge.

So why the difficulty in finding sponsorship for a driver who has won in NASCAR and is the lone African-American running full-time in any of the sport’s top three series?

“This sport, from Truck and XFINITY series, we’ve been scrapping and clawing to get sponsorship for everybody,’’ Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark told MotorsportsTalk. “All the teams have been doing that. It’s not anything specific to Bubba. He’s unbelievably articulate and very talented and personable guy. We’re pretty confident we’ll be able to find someone that really is an anchor partner for him to grow with.’’

Newmark also noted that the team is only two months into its sponsorship search. The deal to sign Wallace came late last year after many companies had allocated their marketing budget.

Wallace said he won’t let the sponsorship uncertainty impact him on the track.

“You just kind of roll with it,’’ he said. “Try not to let that worry me. If it’s there, it’s there. We’ll just go out and win races. It hasn’t affected me.

Even if sponsorship can’t be found for every race, car owner Jack Roush has shown in the past a willingness to have the organization subsidize a car. That could be an option for Wallace.

“Jack really wants to run a full season, so it’s my job to go out there and deliver like any other driver, run out front and win races and you never know who will latch on,’’ Wallace said.

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.”