Helio Castroneves, Carl Edwards inducted into Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame

Photos courtesy Texas Motor Speedway
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He may hail from Brazil, but Texas has long been like a second home for IMSA and former IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves.

The Lonestar State loves Helio and Helio loves the Lonestar State. That’s why it was so fitting Saturday night that Castroneves, along with former NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, was inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame during an awards ceremony at Texas Motor Speedway.

Edwards and Castroneves become the 20th and 21st inductees into the Texas hall.

Helio Castroneves, left, and Carl Edwards were inducted Saturday into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Castroneves holds TMS records for most wins (four), top-10s (15), top-fives (11) and laps-led (506) over the course of a record 20 career starts at the 1.5-mile speedway.

“Coming here today to see the Speedway, I said, ‘Man, I miss this place,’” Castroneves, 43, said during Saturday’s festivities. “I miss the environment – but I’m not retired. I’m still driving.”

While Castroneves moved to Team Penske’s sports car operation for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series, and he’ll be back again for the 2019 campaign, he will once again be back in an Indy car in the 103rd Indianapolis 500. Castroneves hopes to finally earn a record-tying fourth Indy 500 win.

Castroneves asked TMS president Eddie Gossage to talk with team owner Roger Penske and convince him to run a fourth car also in June’s IndyCar Series night race at TMS.

“We got to start sending messages to RP,” said Castroneves, who received a ring indicating his induction into the Hall. “I’ll never stop thanking the fans, whether it’s from racing or ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ This is a phenomenal honor.”

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Others honored Saturday night included:

* NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs received the Bruton Smith Legend Award for his leadership of a championship-winning organization.

* NASCAR Cup star Kevin Harvick received the 2017 Racer of the Year Award.

* NASCAR Xfinity title contender Christopher Bell, a native of Oklahoma City, Oka., received the 2017 TMS Sportsmanship Award.

The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame ceremony serves as a major fundraiser for Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter.

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III