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Munoz confirmed at Andretti for 2016

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Carlos Munoz will return to Andretti Autosport for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, his third full-time with the team and fourth overall.

He continues alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, the latter of whom has not been formally confirmed but is expected to be so very soon.

Full release is below:

Four-time IndyCar Series champions Andretti Autosport confirmed today that Carlos Muñoz will return to the team’s roster for 2016 Verizon IndyCar season. Muñoz, who will pilot the No. 26 Honda, returns alongside teammates drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti.

“Really happy to join the team again for 2016 – it will be my fifth year with Andretti,” said Muñoz. “I’m really thankful to Michael (Andretti), JF (Thormann, COO) and the whole team. I’m really happy to be able to return for another year. The 2016 schedule looks really nice and we hope to fight for an Indy 500 win and a championship.”

Muñoz made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at the 2013 Indianapolis 500 where he earned Rookie of the Year honors for starting on the front row and, after leading the historic race for 12 laps, finishing in the second position. The 23-year-old continued with Andretti to complete two full seasons (2014, 2015), taking him to his first career win on the streets of Detroit (2015) along with seven top-10 finishes during the 2015 season.

“Carlos has been part of the Andretti family of drivers for several years now,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “We’re really pleased with his growth as a driver and look forward to a competitive 2016.”

Prior to joining the IndyCar ranks, the Colombian recorded five Indy Lights pole positions and four wins (Barber, Long Beach, Pocono and Fontana) in 2013, marking his career-best year in two seasons of Indy Lights competition. Throughout his time spent at the final step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, Muñoz has accrued six wins, six pole positions, 10 podiums and 20 top-10 finishes. The Indy Lights veteran came away with a fifth-place finish in the 2012 championship point’s standings and third for 2013.

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.”