Jarett Andretti

Jarett Andretti helping father realize family dream at Indianapolis

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Though John Andretti recently entered another bout of chemotherapy for a relapse of colon cancer, Jarett Andretti “can’t get him to stop.”

“He’s doing pretty well right now,” Jarett said of his father, a versatile driver who won in NASCAR Cup, CART, IMSA and NHRA and also was the first to run the Indianapolis 500 and Coca Cola 600 on the same day in 1994. “He came sprint car racing with me last weekend. Goes to the car washes, up until 3 in the morning.

“He’s obviously going through chemo again, treatments and stuff. I’ve never seen it let him affect him. It’s really an inspiration.”

John Andretti might find some inspiration from his son next month when Jarett will become the seventh member of the famous racing family to compete at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Andretti Autosport announced Friday afternoon that it’ll field a car for Jarett Andretti in the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race May 24 at IMS. Jarett will join a prestigious list of his great uncle, Mario; his father, John; his uncle, Adam; his godfather and cousin, Michael; and cousins Jeff and Marco.

Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti said his cousin John “always had a dream to see his son drive at Indy. I’m glad we’re making it a reality this year.

“This is very important to me personally,” Michael Andretti said. “Me and John are very, very close. We’ve been close our whole lives, growing up together. To help bring one of his dreams come true, it’s cool to be able to do that.

“Jarett is a part of our team there anyway. He’s been there for a long time. It’s nice to finally get him out there and do something out there at the speedway.”

Jarett Andretti, 26, races for Andretti Autosport in the Pirelli GT4 America Series. He also has excelled with championships in go-karts, USAC Midgets and sprint cars, where his dad often has helped turn wrenches on his son’s cars.

“He’s a really good mechanic,” Jarett, the 2014 USAC National Sprint Car rookie of the year, said of his father. “A lot of people don’t know that about him, but he’s an extremely talented mechanic. He can get on a lathe, do stuff. He can’t weld, but he can do about anything else.

“We’ve done it all together. Just to kind of go through this process together, it’s been great. It’s as much of a byproduct of his hard work as it is mine.”

Because of his relative inexperience in IndyCar-style cars, Jarett Andretti will test April 18 at Kentucky Speedway in a rookie orientation with Indy Lights teammates Oliver Askew and Robert Megennis.
“It’s cool to kind of get that opportunity from a sprint car to get to do this,” Jarett said. “Mirrors my dad’s opportunities as well. He kind of took a sidetrack through sports cars like I’m doing.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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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.”