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100th Indianapolis 500 team preview: All teams

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MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series grid ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Here’s links to all full-season team previews, below, which comprise 31 of the projected 33 cars:

Here’s final previews for the two single-car teams in the field, Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing and Lazier Burns Racing.

Photo: DRR-Kingdom Racing
Photo: DRR-Kingdom Racing

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing-Kingdom Racing

The Dennis Reinbold-led team has soldiered on as an Indianapolis 500-only entrant, and a competitive one, since leaving IndyCar full-time after the 2013 race. Three top-15 finishes in the last three years speak volumes of their ability level, and in truth, they’re probably disappointed their results haven’t been better.

ENTRY

Sage Karam, No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet

INDY OUTLOOK

Lots to prove here for one of only two single-car teams, which unlike in 2014 for Karam’s debut is not running as part of a technical partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing. Karam, in his first race since Pocono last year, will be hungry and motivated to rebound from the tragic circumstances since he was last on the track. The DRR crew is among the best, even in a one-off basis, and has a way of keeping its driver in the game all 500 miles. A top-15 is a realistic goal and a top-10 far from impossible; given Karam’s determination, he’ll want even more than that.

RECENT RESULTS 

  • 2015: 14. 24-Bell (23)
  • 2014: 9. 22-Karam (31)
  • 2013: 11. 22-Servia (13)
  • 2012 (as Panther DRR): 4. 22-Servia (27)

Photo: Tony DiZinno
Photo: Tony DiZinno

Lazier Burns Racing

A throwback in many ways, but it shows the challenge of modern-day IndyCar that Lazier’s small, family-run team faces to even make the field. That being said, new investment from Tom Burns appears to have helped and the team is here preparing for the week of practice.

ENTRY

Buddy Lazier-W, No. 4 Lazier Burns Racing Chevrolet

RACE OUTLOOK

Two early retirements and a DNQ have occurred his last three years. If the 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion can finish, that would be a good result. 

RECENT RESULTS

  • 2015: NQ. 91-Lazier
  • 2014: 32. 91-Lazier (33)
  • 2013: 31. 91-Lazier (32)

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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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.”