Wet and wild Win for Taylor, Castroneves and Acura Team Penske at Road America

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Helio Castroneves had no idea where he was going, but he knew he was fast.
Castroneves passed Renger van der Zande in the pouring rain with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left Sunday to win the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class of the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America.
Castroneves trailed van der Zande when the race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, restarted with under eight minutes left following a 21-minute red flag and 22-minute full-course caution, as leader Oliver Jarvis went to the pits for rain tires.
Covered by plumes of water from van der Zande’s car and slower traffic in front, Castroneves chased down the leader and eventually passed him when his car bobbled on the exit of Turn 14.
“I couldn’t see a thing,” Castroneves said. “I noticed a little gap, and every time you have a little gap when there’s a few laps to go, you go for it.”
The victory with teammate Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi was the team’s first this season in its first race after Acura announced that it would part ways with Penske’s WeatherTech Championship effort at the end of the 2020 season.
Acura Team Penske first competed in the DPi class in 2018 and won the driver, team and manufacturer championships in 2019.
The team had been off to a rough start to the 2020 season, not finishing better than fourth in the first three races. Taylor and Castroneves hadn’t won since 2018.
“We don’t even know where we are in points because it’s pointless to look at them when we finish last every weekend,” Taylor said. “There’s always some bad luck or something going on, but this win definitely gives us some momentum. We’ll keep fighting.”
Castroneves said the team isn’t focused on the decision, but instead intent on turning the season around.
“Everybody knows the program is going to be forced to an end,” Castroneves said. “We don’t think about that. We want to finish on a high note. That’s our goal.”
Van der Zande, who teamed with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, held on to finish second. The No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R shared by Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani finished third.
Taylor, who started from pole alongside the Acura Team Penske No. 6 entry driven by Dane Cameron, led from the drop of the green until the first round of pit stops.
He reassumed the lead shortly after Cameron tangled with Harry Tincknell’s No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi 35 minutes into the 2-hour, 40-minute race.
After the No. 7 Penske car changed drivers, Castroneves held spirited battles for the lead with Jarvis, van der Zande and Tincknell before Jarvis assumed the lead shortly before rain began to fall, bringing out the red flag.  
Once the race restarted and Jarvis pitted for rain tires, Castroneves set his sights on van der Zande.
“Our goal is just to go quick,” Castroneves said. “We created some momentum, and we want to keep it going. Every time we’re on the racetrack, that’s what we want to do. Hopefully, this helps.”
The WeatherTech Championship resumes Aug. 21-23 with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.
The DPi and LMP2 classes return to competition in a six-hour race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Sept. 6.