Kanaan misses out on MAVTV 500 repeat, but frustrated over race (VIDEO)

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For Tony Kanaan, finishing second in the MAVTV 500 and losing out on a repeat opportunity of his 2014 win in the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale wasn’t the worst part of Saturday’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

The fact the racing was how it was, condensed into closer packs at times before it spread out longer over stints, was the more frustrating part for the series veteran who raced back when average lap speeds were anywhere from 235 mph to north of 240 even, at Fontana.

First off, Kanaan described the missed opportunity in the race, as he just lost out to Graham Rahal before the final accident between Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay ended the race under yellow.

“It’s hard to tell. I think I was [ahead],” Kanaan told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee. “I’m obviously… when you’re like that, in a close race, you never know. It was a crazy race. I’m glad I’m in one piece. I don’t know when the yellow came out, but I was second at the line. Congratulations to him.”

Then, the sage driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet offered his opinion on the racing itself.

“It’s a new package, We keep guessing. We guessed on the wrong side,” Kanaan said. “It was great for the fans, but people are not in the race car to see what 215 mph is like doing this.

“I would like you guys to try, the guys that criticize us. It’s tough and stressful. Hopefully we come up with a better solution.”

Kanaan’s second place, on the bright side, is his best result of the season and second podium, with the first having come in the season opener at St. Petersburg where he finished third.

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.”