O'Ward and Telitz. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Sunday title primers in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000

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MONTEREY, Calif. – The three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires will be decided today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the “Soul Red Finale.”

Here’s quick breakdowns of the titles for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series.

Indy Lights

Ed Jones (No. 11 Carlin) leads Santiago Urrutia (No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian) by seven points, 343-336.

Jones will have at least one bonus point for pole position, which gives Urrutia a maximum possible number of 32 points. If he were to achieve that with a win, he’d have 368 points. He’d defeat Jones at that number, because the best Jones could do would be second, and at a 368-point even tie, Urrutia would have four wins (or five in this instance, because 32 assumes a win) to Jones’ two.

Otherwise, for Urrutia to overtake Jones, he’ll need a seven-point overtake. That could be second to Jones’ fifth, third to Jones’ sixth, fourth to Jones’ ninth and so on and so forth.

INDY LIGHTS POS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
PTS 30 25 22 19 17 15 14 13 12 11
1 11 Ed Jones UAE Carlin 343 373 368 365 362 360 358 357 356 355 354
2 55 Santiago Urrutia URG Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 336 366 361 358 355 353 351 350 349 348 347
POS 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th
PTS 10 9 8 7 6
1 11 Ed Jones UAE Carlin 343 353 352 351 350 349
2 55 Santiago Urrutia URG Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 336 346 345 344 343 342

Pro Mazda

This is likely going to come down to the second of two Pro Mazda races on the day, and third on the weekend, to decide.

Following a first race win on Saturday, Pato O’Ward has closed the gap to Team Pelfrey teammate Aaron Telitz to just eight points, 371-363.

With a win in the first race, O’Ward would take the points lead if Telitz finished fourth or worse. Telitz has the pole position so the key for him is simply finishing ahead of the teenager to solidify and/or increase the gap.

PRO MAZDA POS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
PTS 30 25 22 19 17 15
1 82 Aaron Telitz USA Team Pelfrey 371 401 396 393 390 388 386
2 80 Pato O’Ward MEX Team Pelfrey 363 393 388 385 382 380 378
POS 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
PTS 14 13 12 11 10 9
1 82 Aaron Telitz USA Team Pelfrey 371 385 384 383 382 381 380
2 80 Pato O’Ward MEX Team Pelfrey 363 377 376 375 374 373 372

USF2000

Anthony Martin appears to have the easiest road to a title ahead of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Parker Thompson, with an 18-point gap, 369-351.

The maximum number of points Thompson could get with a win and most laps led and fast lap would be 32 points, and 383 for the season.

That means regardless of what Thompson does, Martin clinches if he finishes sixth or better. Sixth place nets him at least 384 points.

USF2000 POS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
PTS 30 25 22 19 17 15 14 13 12 11
1 8 Anthony Martin AUS Cape Motorsports w/WTR 369 399 394 391 388 386 384 383 382 381 380
2 2 Parker Thompson CAN Cape Motorsports w/WTR 351 381 376 373 370 368 366 365 364 363 362
POS 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th
PTS 10 9 8 7 6 5 4
1 8 Anthony Martin AUS Cape Motorsports w/WTR 369 379 378 377 376 375 374 373
2 2 Parker Thompson CAN Cape Motorsports w/WTR 351 361 360 359 358 357 356 355

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.”