PRN radio reporter Doug Rice to pull Memorial Day broadcast double with Shell support

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Andretti. Gordon. Stewart. Busch. Rice.

Rice?

Yes, Rice.

No, 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice – who remains active as a driver coach and spotter for JDC Motorsports in the Mazda Road to Indy, and a spotter for CFH Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – isn’t making a comeback to driving this week.

But Doug Rice, veteran pit reporter for the Performance Racing Network, is set to add his name to the four drivers who’ve pulled the Memorial Day “double” of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

Rice will be in a firesuit, but not behind the wheel, for at least part of his Sunday.

He’ll cover the Indy 500 from pit road for the IMS Radio Network, then co-anchor the Coca-Cola 600 for tPRN from Charlotte Motor Speedway that same evening.

With logistical support from Shell Oil Company, Rice will be able to attempt what no other broadcaster in the history of the two major events has done.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” Rice said in a release. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, to be truthful, it’s been a dream of mine since Andretti pulled off the first double in 1994.”

Rice isn’t underestimating the challenge, as rather than roughly eight or nine hours of driving, he’ll be doing close to eight or nine hours of talking throughout the day.

“I’ve always been in awe of the drivers who were able to survive the impact of the double,” Rice said. “And even though this will be different kind of double, it will still be a challenge. I’m betting on energy and adrenaline to keep me going through the day in Indy and during the night for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.”

“We are very happy to help Doug and our friends at PRN make this happen,” added Heidi Massey-Bong, Sr. Business Advisor – NASCAR Sponsorship, Shell Oil Company. “This effort with Doug along with other activities taking place over the Memorial Day race weekend are going to help us showcase some exciting news for Shell.”

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.”