Penske: Newgarden is "key", Castroneves may have sportscar future

Roger Penske has said Josef Newgarden is an “outstanding” asset for his IndyCar team and suggested that Helio Castroneves may join Juan Pablo Montoya in Penske's mooted sportscar lineup.

Penske: Newgarden is "key", Castroneves may have sportscar future
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet, Roger Penske, Team Penske owner
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, presenting for Canal Latin America
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet pit stop
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Following Montoya’s release from Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR team at the end of 2013, Roger Penske signed the Colombian ace for his IndyCar squad, and their mutual faith was rewarded with four victories including the 2015 Indy 500.

However, Penske replaced Montoya with Newgarden for the 2017 season, although he has retained the two-time Indy 500 winner to run a fifth car at this year’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis as well as the 500. Penske described his newest driver signing as important to the team’s future.

“For us it was key to have Newgarden,” said Penske. “He’s young, he’s articulate, he’s certainly shown how good he is on the racetrack. No one has to question his ability and we’ve found him to be a tremendous team player with our other drivers.

“He’s been outstanding representing us with sponsors. He’s exactly what we want to help us to continue to build our team.”

Sportscars for Montoya… and Castroneves?

As reported on Motorsport.com, a potential Penske sportscar deal is playing a part in The Captain’s ongoing relationship with Montoya, who he said “would be top of the list to drive for us.

"That’s been part of the discussion when he thought about wanting to run another year [full-season with a rival IndyCar team]. I said, ‘Look, let’s run you at Indy – we’ll run you at the road race and the 500. And you’re at the top of the list if we do something [in sportscar]. That’s as honest as I can be.”

Penske hinted that a similar arrangement to Montoya’s might also be made for his three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who is now in his 18th season with the team’s IndyCar arm.

Penske told Motorsport.com last summer that even if the Brazilian star retired from full-time IndyCar racing, the team wanted to continue running him as a one-off entry in the Indy 500. Last weekend he implied that might be supplemented by a fulltime ride in IMSA.

“[Helio] is an absolute winner at Indy and I thought he had a good chance last year until he got whacked up the back,” said Penske. “If we did [sportscars] he would probably be part of that, but we haven’t made a final decision yet.”

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