Karam leads Ganassi 1-2-3 in Monday’s practice at Indy


Three of Chip Ganassi Racing’s five drivers, Sage Karam, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan were 1-2-3 in Monday’s practice for this year’s Indianapolis 500, all over 225 mph.

Dixon and Kanaan were 1-2 before Karam got a tow right near the end of the session to eclipse them both with the day’s fastest lap speed of 225.802 in the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

The 2013 Indy Lights champion was ninth in his Verizon IndyCar Series debut this race last year. He returns to the cockpit after missing the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, with Sebastian Saavedra in the No. 8 car.

Beyond the Ganassi trio, Marco Andretti also ended the day over 225 at 225.184 in fourth. CFH Racing’s pair of JR Hildeband and Ed Carpenter were next up.

Note the times below the actual fastest laps, here were the fastest “no-tow” speeds, via Indianapolis ABC affiliate reporter Dave Furst:

The top 27 cars did a reasonable amount of running (from as few as 6 laps up to 83 for Josef Newgarden), but there were some notable exceptions.

Team Penske’s trio of Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and Helio Castroneves ran installation laps only. Simon Pagenaud served as the team’s guinea pig and banked 31 laps, with a best speed of 222.885 mph.

The four cars entered that didn’t turn any laps today were Jack Hawksworth and Alex Tagliani, in the Nos. 41 and 48 A.J. Foyt Enterprises Hondas, 1996 champion Buddy Lazier in the No. 91 Lazier Racing Partners Chevrolet, and the as-yet-to-be-determined No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

Here are the speeds:


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.”