Photo: Tony DiZinno

Several new or test liveries set to roll out at Phoenix test

Leave a comment

AVONDALE, Ariz. – A few morning updates before the first practice session starts here at Phoenix International Raceway for the Prix View test for the Verizon IndyCar Series (a link to the full preview is here).

Here’s some quick livery updates and other notes you’ll see once the session starts at 3 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. MT on racecontrol.indycar.com:

  • Scott Dixon is in an all-white No. 9 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing with no signage. CGR crewmembers are just wearing plain, unbranded red polo shirts.
  • Mikhail Aleshin’s No. 7 SMP Racing Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is all-black.
  • Get used to seeing a lot of red, white and blue cars. Both Dale Coyne Racing cars are in the white, red and blue liveries you would have seen on the No. 19 Honda last year. The differentiation is that Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 18 car has a red camera mount over the airbox while rookie Ed Jones’ No. 19 car has a blue one.
  • Takuma Sato’s No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda is also in a white, red and blue livery, predominately blue with Panasonic signage over the engine cowling.
  • Both ABC Supply Co. Chevrolets, the No. 4 for Conor Daly and No. 14 for Carlos Munoz, are in the same ABC Supply white, red and blue colors.
  • NBC Sports spoke briefly to A.J. Foyt Enterprises president Larry Foyt, who confirmed Foyt team director George Klotz will serve as Daly’s strategist, with Larry Foyt the strategist for Munoz. Foyt is uncertain whether the team will run a third car for the Indianapolis 500 at the moment.
  • Alexander Rossi’s No. 98 Honda has NAPA AUTO PARTS signage, as expected.
  • Helio Castroneves has Hitachi signage on his No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. Simon Pagenaud is in the blue-and-white of PPG on his new No. 1 Chevrolet, while both Josef Newgarden and Will Power are in Verizon signage.
  • Graham Rahal’s crew has United Rentals shirts on for his No. 15 Honda at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
  • Luis Michael Dorrbecker, who is set to test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports next month at Sebring, is on site this weekend.

More to follow as the day progresses.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”