Helio Castroneves upset after hard crash sends Penske to garage

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Less than four hours into the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a crash knocked one of Team Penske’s Acuras from contention and left Helio Castroneves steaming.

Driving the No. 7 entry, Castroneves was hit in the left rear by the fellow DPi car of Harry Tincknell when entering the tricky Bus Stop section of the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

Castroneves told NBC Sports pit reporter Marty Snider that he had been radioing his team to relay to Tincknell to be patient as they worked through traffic.

“It’s not even four hours into the race, I was taking my time, dealing with traffic, and then the guy just decided to dive into (me) in a place that’s probably 120 mph,” Castroneves said. “For a risk that’s not going to pay off.

“We had a great car. It’s just … 24 hours! Ugh! I’m sorry that I expressed my feelings right now, but it’s just ridiculous. Especially when we tell the guy, look, we’re communicating and taking it easy. I’ll let you by, no problem. So many hours to go. It’s just frustrating.”

Tincknell, whose car sustained minor damage, received a drive-though penalty from IMSA for “incident responsibility” and took the blame for the incident (“it was late on my part”) but also noted that Castroneves made passing more difficult by moving through the braking zones and backing off on the straightaways.

“It looks pretty bad for me,” Tincknell said. “I’m sorry for him, sorry for their team, sorry for our team as well because we damaged the car. If you’re dicing that so hard, sometimes you get sent to the wall. That’s what happened. I am sure I will take the blame for it and I will just take that on the chin. Sorry to them.”

Tincknell said Castroneves’ requests for patience and offering to let him by weren’t relayed but intimated it might not have mattered because of the massive closing speeds.

“He’s moving in a braking zone, and I had massive closing speed on the straight, and unfortunately got too close,” he said. “There’s a long way to go, and it’s easy to look back in hindsight on those mistakes and say, ‘Yeah, I shouldn’t have done it.’

“But if he was so worried about me being crazy, he could have just let me through.”

After repairs that took about 35 minutes, Castroneves returned to the race 23 laps down with just more than 20 hours remaining. Team Penske’s remaining No. 6 entry of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron and Simon Pagenaud still was running second, but the No. 7’s chances were done despite also having decent speed.

“We found a good setup,” said Castroneves, who shares the car with Alexander Rossi and Ricky Taylor. “We actually were taking it easy. I was making sure I was staying away from the curbs. Ugh! Sorry. It’s just frustration right now. We’re going to cheer for the 6 car, hopefully, we can make this situation better at least. But it’s just stupid.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.