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Racing media group names Brittany Force, Martin Truex Jr., Drivers of the Year, plus All-America team

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NHRA 2017 Top Fuel champion Brittany Force and NASCAR Cup 2017 champ Martin Truex Jr. have been named co-winners of the Jerry Titus Memorial Award Driver of the Year honors by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Force and Truex tied for the most votes in balloting among AARWBA members.

The pair also were named to the organization’s 2017 All-America Team, which includes IndyCar champ Josef Newgarden, IMSA’s Ricky and Jordan Taylor, Sprint Car’s Donny Schatz, Kyle Kaiser (Indy Lights) and Christopher Bell (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series).

Force became the NHRA’s first female Top Fuel champion in 35 years since Shirley Muldowney captured her third and final title in 1982.

Brittany Force won four races (in six final round appearances) in 2017, and twice qualified No. 1 en route to her first world championship. Her father, Funny Car driver John Force, is the winningest driver in NHRA history, with 16 championships and 148 race wins.

“It’s such an honor to be included on the All-America Team by the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association,” Force said in a media release. “This season has been incredible, taking home the 2017 championship title for our Monster Energy Team and then to finish off our year by earning the Titus Award is truly unbelievable.

“To be mentioned alongside so many influential names in the motorsports world is an accomplishment in itself and that is something I am very proud of. I have so much support around me and it’s because of my fans, my family and my team that the 2017 season was such a huge success. I am so appreciative of this huge recognition.”

Founded in 1955 AARWBA is a motorsports organization comprised of writers, broadcasters, photographers, and other media-related professionals.

The organization’s charter is aimed at providing not only proper recognition for members of the motorsports media, but to recognize their work as well as the work of the competitors that they follow in print, on the air, and on film.

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.”