Will Power cleared to drive for Sonoma, passes concussion protocol

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Will Power will have a chance to beat Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, on Sept. 18.

The Australian has been cleared to drive by INDYCAR after passing concussion protocol this week, after not being cleared on site at Watkins Glen International following his contact with Charlie Kimball.

A statement from INDYCAR is below:

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Will Power has been cleared to resume driving by Dr. Geoffrey Billows, INDYCAR medical director, after the Team Penske driver successfully passed concussion testing protocol today.

Power was assessed today at the University of Miami (Fla.) Concussion Center under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Olvey, retired director of the Neuro-Critical Care Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami who also served for 25 years as director of medical affairs with Championship Auto Racing Teams. During his examination, Power passed both the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and Vestibular/Ocular-Motor Screening (VOMS) exams.

“Will is doing fine,” Dr. Olvey said. “He flew down to the University of Miami Concussion Center early this morning and we conducted two sophisticated tests to determine if he’d suffered a concussion over the weekend, and he passed both of them with no issue whatsoever.”

Power was involved in a racing incident on Lap 39 of Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi, when his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet made contact with another car and veered into the barrier alongside the track.

Power trails championship leader Simon Pagenaud by 43 points with one race remaining in the season, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 18.

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.”