Pippa Mann confirms Indy 500 return with Susan G. Komen, Dale Coyne Racing

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Pippa Mann will return to the Indianapolis 500 field for 2015, once again reuniting with Dale Coyne Racing and Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, for this year’s race.

This will be her fourth 500, third with Coyne and second with Komen.

No car number was named in the release, but she has raced the No. 63 the last two years –  a reverse of the No. 36 she had for her rookie run in 2011.

Mann has been active with Susan G. Komen in a number of events over the last year, and her second 500 with the organization was always something she was building towards.

“It was an honor last year to be able to partner with Susan G. Komen,” Mann said in a release. “By bringing Komen’s iconic images and colors to the Indy 500, we were able to promote its cause, while raising funds and awareness for Komen’s mission.”

While last year she had car experience dating to October 2013 at Auto Club Speedway and was only out of action for seven months, this year will mark a full calendar year since her last IndyCar appearance at last year’s 500. That’s meant an increased training regimen while outside the car.

“The last time I strapped into a race car may have been last May, but I feel very fortunate to have had such strong support from the Dale Coyne Racing team and from team owner Dale Coyne over the past 12 months. We are all thrilled to bring this pink program back for a second year running,” she said.

Mann’s first track action will come during the oval aero kit open test day on May 3.

“There is nothing that makes our team prouder than to represent Susan G. Komen and all of the hard work that goes into the organization’s efforts both in the U.S. and around the world,” Coyne said in the release. “Pippa is extremely dedicated to her efforts as a driver at Indy and we look forward to our continued success with this partnership.”

“Pippa’s passion for our cause inspires us all,” added Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., M.S. “Whether on the track or out in the community, her commitment to raising awareness and funds brings us one step closer to a world without breast cancer.”

The team is likely to field three cars as they have each of the last two years. Mann is confirmed alongside full-season driver Carlos Huertas, with a third driver of the team’s No. 19 car to be determined.

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.”