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GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren withdrawn from Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Jon Fogarty was meant to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge race at Long Beach this weekend for the first time at the track since 2004; however, the driver of the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren 650S GT3 won’t following a heavy accident on Friday.

Fogarty ran wide at Turn 8, clipping the apex and then crashing on the outside of corner exit, hard into the concrete barriers past the tire wall.

Fogarty was OK but sore after the impact, but the car was deemed unable to repair with enough time for Sunday’s race. With a doubleheader looming at Barber Motorsports Park next weekend, the team loses only one race with the withdrawal this weekend.

“We had a great session going, made steady improvements,” Fogarty said.  “We were on a sticker run there just before the end of the session and I clipped the apex at turn 8…it sent me into the wall like a rocket.  I am fine, but very, very disappointed.  The car absorbed a ton of energy and kept me safe, but I am pretty sick inside for sure.”

Team principal Bob Stallings added, “It looks like this won’t be the big return for us at Long Beach.  Jon had a nice lap going and the car was working really quite well for him.  Unfortunately, the damage is too significant and the GAINSCO boys are going to pack it up here as quickly as possible to get back to Texas.

“We have a double-header next weekend which is big for us in terms of championship points and it’s a “Circle of Champions” weekend for GAINSCO, which means they have a group of winners coming.  We need to be there. It’s going to be a big job to get this car ready in time.  It’s ironic that we are here, finally back to Long Beach after 10 years away and packing it in early once again.”

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.”