Sports

Helio Castroneves hopes SRX win leads to seat in Daytona 500



Justin Marks‘The biological mother heard the rumors and texted her son, owner of Trackhouse Racing, to find out if Helio Castroneves will run the Daytona 500 for the NASCAR team.

That would be a reasonable score for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, who aspired to be awarded to NASCAR. Don Hawk, first-year CEO of Superstar Racing Experience, told Castroneves that if he wins one of the summer’s all-star series races, Hawk will help Castroneves start NASCAR.

Well, Castroneves won the SRX opener on Saturday night, and Hawk has been burning the phone lines ever since.

Trackhouse Racing last month announced “Project91” to help international drivers take part in NASCAR races. Retired Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen makes his first scheduled start in August on the track at Watkins Glen.

“My side job is to represent Mr. Castroneves,” Hawk said. “The phone calls have taken place, the ball is rolling. We’re not ready to say a lot of things publicly. But the ball is rolling. It all depends on how things go, whether we’ll see. consider adding more than one race or optional races.

“The original intention was that he really wanted to run the Daytona 500, it’s a gem. And so we’re really going to try to make the Daytona 500 work.”

Because of the Trackhouse program, speculation immediately turned to Project91 as a landing spot for Castroneves. He won the Indianapolis four times, the Rolex 24 in Daytona twice, and the IMSA sports car championship, but was never able to convince Roger Penske to get him a spot at NASCAR.

Marks told the Associated Press he hasn’t spoken to Hawk about Castroneves yet, but “my mom texted me and asked, ‘You’re talking to Helio, aren’t you?'”

Castroneves doesn’t know what deals Hawk can make, but he’s serious about joining the Daytona 500 next year. He’ll be 47 when “The Great American Race” releases next February and is currently driving for Meyer Shank Racing at IndyCar, a team that hasn’t banned him from off-road racing.

“I’ve been driving for so many years with Roger Penske and I couldn’t get a chance there. Now, I have a chance in my contract, so why not, why not try something that I do. never did,” Castroneves said. “So now I’m trying SRX, IMSA, IndyCar. It’s natural to try something that I always do. [wanted to do]that’s NASCAR.

“I know it’s going to be tough, but hey, who knows, in a race you never expect things to be so surprising. Hopefully I’ll be in it with Don and sure. will definitely be in the Daytona 500.”

A part of Tony StewartSRX’s hope in creating the SRX last year was that it would help drivers find other opportunities, and it worked in the inaugural season. Ernie Francis Jr., a seven-time Trans Am Series champion, caught Penske’s eye when he won the SRX race in Indianapolis, and it led to a full-time win this year in this year’s race. Indy Lights Series.

The wildest part of Castroneves’ deal with Hawk was that he won Saturday night at the Five Flags Highway in Florida, where the SRX had no idea Castroneves was racing. His involvement in six Saturday nights was built around his IndyCar schedule and there was a misunderstanding about Castroneves entering the inaugural race.

He was on a plane to Pensacola last Friday night when it was discovered SRX had no idea he was coming. The SRX has the cars available – the premise of the series is that all cars are equally prepared for star racers from many racing formulas – and has one ready for Castroneves when he arrives.

“It showed you that the 16 cars that we prepared were really like what we said, they were equal cars,” Hawk said. “He started scratching on the field and he won the game. win. A lot of things have gone in the right direction. We have four spare cars, any of which you just pop the seat in and we’re good to go.”

SRX races this Saturday night live on CBS at the South Boston Speedway in Virginia. Seller Peytonwho hails from Danville, Virginia, and is a six-time South Boston track champion, is the weekly “bell ringer” who gets into the field.

“I rank this opportunity right on top of what I can do,” Sellers said. “I had the opportunity to run a Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2005. I had the opportunity to race an Xfinity at Indianapolis. I had the opportunity to race the Daytona, the Talladega, a lot of that race. To get to the caliber. the drivers that we have, to have the caliber of cars that we have in the SRX is huge.Given the size of the program that the SRX has put together, it is, for me, required to be part of it is a really great opportunity.”



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