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MRTI: Juncos adds Zachary Claman Demelo to Indy Lights lineup

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Juncos Racing has found its replacement for outgoing Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion Spencer Pigot, in Zachary Claman Demelo.

Demelo joins Kyle Kaiser in the lineup.

The team’s full release is below:

Juncos Racing is pleased to announce Zachary Claman Demelo will join the team for the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. Claman is the second driver to join the regaining 2015 Indy Lights Champions line up for the 2016 season.

The 2016 Indy Lights season will mark Zachary Claman Demelo’s (Montreal, Canada) first run in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series. The Canadian native recently made his official debut with Juncos Racing at the fifth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test. Claman proved to be a strong contender in the Indy Lights series leading the field in the final session and finishing third overall.

“I’m very happy about being given the opportunity to work with Juncos Racing,” said Claman. “I get along very well with all the guys and I think we work well together. I’m looking forward to a strong season and showing everyone what we are capable of as a team.”

Claman joins the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series with Juncos Racing after competing in the 2014 F3 Cup and Formula Renault 2.0 series in Europe. Claman has also recorded many championships in karts throughout North America including Canadian National Champion and four Eastern Karting Championships. The young Canadian took third in the World Finals, won the Florida Winter Tour Tag Senior Championship, and was the runner up in the Florida Winter Tour Rotax Senior Championship.

Team Principal Ricardo Juncos has been very impressed with Claman’s preseason results and is confident the young Canadian will be a standout driver in his rookie Indy Lights season.

“I am pleased to be able to announce that Zach Claman will be joining our organization for an assault on the 2016 Indy Lights Championship,” said Juncos.

“Zach has been extremely impressive in preseason testing thus far, everyone is excited to see what he can do come St. Petersburg. I have to personally thank Mike Wilson for organizing the first test between Zach and Juncos Racing. Mike has been a huge supporter of Juncos Racing for over a decade and we will be putting our full effort behind Zach.”

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.”