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Castroneves’ new role, Rahal’s excitement headline day at Brickyard

Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal on Aug 11, 2023, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (WISH Photo of Castroneves; AP Photo of Rahal)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Friday at the Brickyard started in a major way for Meyer Shank Racing.

Four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves was announced as a new minor owner with the team, while continuing to drive in future Indy 500s.

As for his full-time ride, Tom Blomquist will joins MSR with a full time contract starting in 2024.

“I want to be very clear: I am not retiring!” Castroneves said with a giant smile. “I just want to make sure people understand that. Actually, my line is open now to do other series. I still have a lot of fire inside me, a lot of energy I want to burn, but now I want to focus that burn in the Indy 500.”

Meanwhile, it was a marquee day for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Graham Rahal won his first pole in six years. However, Rahal knows it’s going to take a lot more than starting P1 to be the first car across the bricks Saturday.

“It’s great to feel that way and to get a pole and get the monkey off our back in a pretty big way,” Rahal said. “This place is typically a green race. Very high level of talent in driving nowadays. It’s not easy. No matter where you start it’s not easy. But certainly P1 sounds a little sweeter.”

Rahal beat teammate Christian Lundgaard by 0.1106 of a second. Lundgaard shares row one with Rahal — just missing out on his second pole at the IMS Road Course this year.

“I’m extremely proud of this team,” Lundgaard said. “That is an RLL Indy Road Course pole lockout for the two races. It’s a shame it wasn’t me for both of them but I’m really, really happy for Graham. We’ve got plenty of opportunities to plan in terms of strategy with two cars up in the front to win the race tomorrow. I think everybody has to be worried. But so do we. We know there’s a lot of strong cars in the field.”

Lundgaard looks for his second win of the season when the green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.