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INDYCAR: Simon Pagenaud fastest again in P3 at Toronto

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Simon Pagenaud was fastest in the third and final practice session of the weekend for the NTT IndyCar Series on the streets of Toronto Saturday morning, with an elapsed time of 59.3651 seconds around the 11-Turn, 1.786-mile street course.

Pagenaud led Felix Rosenqvist by 0.0702 seconds. Ryan Hunter-Reay ended the session third fastest with a lap of 59.5277 seconds.

Santino Ferrucci (59.6636 seconds) ended the session with fourth fastest, followed by Colton Herta, who rounded out the top five with an elapsed time of 59.6772 seconds. Twelve of the 22 cars in practice posted sub-1 minute times.

The red flag came out twice during the session, both times for divers making contact with tire barriers. Hunter-Reay was the first to bring out the red flag, when his No. 28 Honda made contact with the inside tire barrier in Turn 8 with 12 minutes remaining in the session.

Graham Rahal would also bring out the red flag with for minutes remaining when his No, 15 Honda slid into the barrier in Turn 1.

The time in the session would expire while crews removed Rahal’s car, however INDYCAR gave teams one more timed lap to end the session.

Qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto begins later this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full practice results

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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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.”