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Castroneves optimistic about another shot at Indy 500

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Helio Castroneves is optimistic team owner Roger Penske will give him another chance to win the Indianapolis 500 for the fourth time next year.

Castroneves no longer races full-time in IndyCar after a nearly two-decade career with Penske that included Indy 500 wins in 2001, 2002 and 2009. He now drives for Penske’s IMSA sports car racing team, and Penske brought him back to IndyCar for the month of May the past two years.

Will he be able to pull off a similar deal with Penske next year to go after a record-tying fourth Indy win?

Castroneves said it will depend largely on finding a sponsor, a search he believes will be helped greatly by the fact that another Penske driver, Simon Pagenaud, won Indy in May.

“The good news is, the team won the Indy 500,” Castroneves said. “Which helps tremendously to talk not only with sponsors, and with Roger. I did hear he’s talking about a fourth car. But who knows? I’m feeling confident that there could be another year, but let’s see.”

In a text message to The Associated Press, Penske said, “At the moment I think he will be in our plans.”

Outside of another shot with Penske, Castroneves’ options appear to be limited. Castroneves said his contract to drive for Penske’s IMSA team has a clause that prevents him from racing against Penske in any other series that the team competes in.

“I don’t think my contract allows a possibility of (racing Indy for another team) next year with (a Penske contract in) IMSA still,” Castroneves said. “We’re not allowed to race against them. I can race in Brazil, or Europe – anything that they’re not competing in. Which is understandable.”

Castroneves, who was at the IndyCar race at Road America over the weekend as a corporate ambassador for race title sponsor the REV Group, acknowledged it is difficult to be at an IndyCar race and not to be behind the wheel.

“When you jump in at the Grand Prix and jump in in Indianapolis, it’s like a case of `why?’ It’s actually worse,” Castroneves said. “Because I know I can do it. Especially after Indy Grand Prix. I only had one day (in the car,) and I was five hundredths away from the fast six (in qualifying.) Which shows that I have it, you know? But I trust the system, I trust the team and we’ll see what happens. And also doing the sports car program, it’s a great challenge. It’s very nice.”

The 44-year-old Brazilian is exploring some business opportunities outside racing, but wants to continue his career.

“I want to keep going, obviously,” Castroneves said. “I love racing. To be honest, that’s what I know what to do best.”

Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.