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James Hinchcliffe to drive Indianapolis 500 for Andretti

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One of the most popular drivers in the IndyCar paddock has found a part-time home for the 2020 season.

James Hinchcliffe will make a return to Andretti Autosport starting this May. The 33-year-old Canadian will drive the No. 29 Honda for the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, and the June night race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sponsorship for Hinchcliffe’s partial schedule will be provided by Genesys, a company Hinchcliffe first announced as a personal sponsor on Jan. 16. The partnership marks the first venture into IndyCar racing for the customer service technology company.

“Honestly, it’s so nice being able to announce some more good news,” Hinchcliffe said in a release. “It’s no secret that the 2020 season isn’t going to be exactly what we were expecting, but being able to start the new year with the announcement that Genesys was stepping in to save our season and partner with us was awesome, and now adding the next big piece in my reunion with Andretti Autosport just really makes it feel like the momentum is going our way.

“I can’t wait to work with this group again and to get back behind the wheel of an IndyCar!”

Hinchcliffe previously drove for Andretti from 2012-14, winning three races. 

Following his first stint with the team, Hinchcliffe raced for Arrow McLaren SP (then Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) from 2015-19. However, the team released Hinchcliffe in November, and he had been searching for a new ride since then.

But when plans for Fernando Alonso to race for Andretti fell through, the opportunity for Hinchcliffe to return to the team presented itself.

“We’re really pleased to be able to welcome James back into the Andretti team,” Andretti Autosport chairman and CEO Michael Andretti said. “He has, for sure, been knocked down a few times by this sport and to be able to help him meet the challenge is really special. We had a lot of fun, and some great successes with James when he was part of the team before, and we’re really looking forward to picking up where we left off.

“I’d also like to welcome Genesys to the Andretti family for their first experience in IndyCar racing. We now have three, major Indiana-based companies in our portfolio, along with several other brands that call Indianapolis home. It’s special to see these companies supporting Indiana’s home sport of IndyCar racing, and we’re proud to carry them each with us. We are looking forward to working with James and the Genesys team to deliver both on and off-track success.”

Hinchcliffe’s first race of 2020, the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, will take place on May 9 and air live on NBC.

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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.”