After tough Indy, Castroneves has mind set on enjoying himself on an isle — Belle Isle

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For the seventh consecutive year, Helio Castroneves came up short in his bid to tie A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser for a fourth Indianapolis 500 title.

Even worse, Castroneves finished 11th in Sunday’s milestone 100th running of the 500, his worst finish in the 500 since 2011 (17th).

“I’m very disappointed in the way we ended up (at Indy),” Castroneves said. “It’s just not reflective of the car that we had and the pit stops that we had.

“The car was so strong. We had a car that could have won, but it wasn’t meant to be and we’ll move on.”

Rather than dwell on what might have been, Castroneves is focused on what lies ahead for him: the potential to rebound with strong performances in this weekend’s Chevrolet Dual In Detroit.

“I’m very much looking forward to putting Indianapolis behind us,” Castroneves said. “It was just such a frustrating ending there. We were in great shape one minute and not the next.”

Saturday’s and Sunday’s races are the only back-to-back, points-paying events on the Verizon IndyCar Series circuit. And both races on the Belle Isle street circuit afford Castroneves to pick up some very valuable points.

Castroneves is currently third in the rankings. Simon Pagenaud leads all drivers with 292 points, followed by defending series champ Scott Dixon with 235 points, and Castroneves with 224 points.

Indeed, Belle Isle has been one of Castroneves’ stronger tracks. In nine starts, he has one win, a runner-up, two other top-five and two other top-10 finishes.

“The Belle Isle event is tremendous and one that I always look forward to,” Castroneves said. “Other than the Sunday race last year (he finished a career-low 19th there due to a crash four laps from the finish), it’s a track that we’ve been able to do well at. We’re just excited to get up there and on the track.”

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III