Photo: Juncos Racing

MRTI: Juncos signs Megennis for Pro Mazda effort

Leave a comment

On the heels of signing Rinus Veekay to a full season effort, Juncos Racing announced earlier today that Robert Megennis, a fellow standout in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, will be joining the team in a second entry for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season.

Megennis contested the 2017 USF2000 campaign with Team Pelfrey and enjoyed a successful year in which he took his first career win at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. He then entered the Pro Mazda rounds at the season finale weekend at Watkins Glen International with Team Pelfrey, but a crash in Race 1 relegated him to a 12th-place finish and kept him from starting Race 2.

Team owner Ricardo Juncos emphasized Megennis’ performance at October’s Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test as a deciding factor in the team’s decision to sign him.

“After what Rob showed us at the Chris Griffis Test this past October, I am thrilled to add him to our Pro Mazda driver line-up. This test really tests a driver since everyone is watching, unlike most other tests when you are there without the pressure of others. Rob ran into some electrical issues the first day of the test, but that did not stop him from putting up the fastest time in the last session and he came back the next day and did it again. After seeing how he performed under this type of pressure I am very confident he will have a great year in the Pro Mazda series,” Juncos said of Megennis’ outing with them.

Megennis expressed both excitement and optimism about joining the Juncos outfit.

“I’m very excited to be joining Juncos Racing for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship,” said the 17-year-old Megennis. “We had a great Chris Griffis test, where we led sessions on both days. I have a lot of confidence in Juncos’ ability to not only give me the fastest car on the grid but also to help me become a better all around driver. The team has proven itself in every series it’s contested, and I’m confident that we will perform with the new PM-18.”

Follow @KyleMLavigne

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.”