Photos courtesy Texas Motor Speedway

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

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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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Simona de Silvestro to become Venturi Formula E test driver

Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
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Simona de Silvestro will become a test driver for the Venturi Formula E team for 2018/2019 season.In addition

De Silvestro previously raced limited events in the series during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons.

I’m delighted to make my return to Formula E as a test driver for Venturi Formula E Team and I’m grateful to Susie (Wolff, team principal) and Gildo (Pastor, team president) for the opportunity,” de Silvestro said on SpeedCafe.com.

“Since competing in Season 2, I’ve kept a close eye on the Formula E championship and followed its development with interest,” de Silvestro continued. “The arrival of the new Gen2 car represents a huge milestone for the series and I am very happy to be back in an active role at this exciting and important time.”

De Silvestro has raced in Australian Supercars since 2017. She will continue to race in that series with Kelly Racing as she balances her time with Venturi.

The bulk of de Silvestro’s testing will be done in its simulator in Monaco.

“The next 12 months will be really busy for me with both Formula E and my Australian Supercars commitments but I’m ready for the challenge and it’s a joy to be working with such a well connected and committed team as Venturi,” de Silvestro said.

“Simona is a real team player and a driver I was keen to work with,” said team principal Wolff. “She has a very positive attitude and no-nonsense approach to her work which will fit in well with the team.”