Will Power grabs best finish of 2018 with P2 in Long Beach IndyCar race

Leave a comment

It’s been a tough start to the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season for Team Penske’s Will Power.

He started second at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but spun on the first lap and backed into the wall, damaging his rear wing, and he could only rebound to finish 10th.

He looked strong at the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix, leading a race high 80 laps. But, wall contact on Lap 153 ended his night early and saw him finish 22nd.

However, Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach saw a welcome change in fortune for the 2014 IndyCar champion. Power qualified a solid second, and finished second behind race winner Alexander Rossi.

Still, despite recording his best finish of the season, Power still was disappointed to miss out on victory, noting that he tried getting Rossi to use up his push-to-pass in the final laps, but his efforts were to no avail as he didn’t have anything to mount a serious challenge.

“I needed to get close enough to him to make him use his, but I just stayed at that one-second gap, just kind of couldn’t make time on him enough to use it up,” Power said. “But yeah, it’s like qualifying every lap for both of us there at the end. At the end of the day, I mean, Rossi was just too fast all day, just really good. Yeah, that’s pretty much all we had.”

Power’s second-place finish moves him into eighth in the championship with 72 points heading into next weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

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.”