4x Indy 500 Champ Secures NASCAR Opportunity in Unique Way

Helio Castroneves

Getty Helio Castroneves celebrates his fourth Indy 500 win.

Aveteran competitor has just secured a unique opportunity. Four-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves won the Superstar Racing Experience season-opener and held up his end of a bargain involving a chance to compete in NASCAR.

Don Hawk, the CEO of the Camping World SRX Series, made a deal with Castroneves ahead of the 2022 season. Hawk told him to win one of the races on his part-time schedule, and he would use his connections to get him a seat for a race at Daytona International Speedway. Castroneves delivered, and now Hawk has confirmed to Racing America that he will pay up.

“This year, for me to race SRX, Hawk said ‘look, win a race and I’ll help you find a ride for Daytona, and I told him we had a deal,” Castroneves told Racing America’s Matt Weaver after his win. “Now, he’s got to make it happen on his end but it’s so cool to be here and what a great opportunity.”

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Castroneves Was a Late Addition for the SRX Series Opener

Helio Castroneves

GettyHelio Castroneves moved back to a full-time schedule in the NTT IndyCar Series.

The four-time Indy 500 champ is not running the full 2022 season schedule. The reason is that he landed a full-time seat for the 2022 NTT IndyCar season, so his focus is on contending for strong finishes in the No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing entry.

The 47-year-old was not actually on the initial entry list for the SRX Series opener. There were 12 drivers set to compete, including Ryan Newman and Bill Elliott. However, the series added a 13th last-minute after Castroneves purchased his own ticket on a commercial flight to get to Pensacola.

The car, which Castroneves drove during the 2021 SRX Series season, was available. It just needed some prep work and the vinyl wrap. The SRX Series crew was able to get the car ready in time for practice, and Castroneves used it to capture the first win of the year, as well as a big opportunity.


New NASCAR Rules Will Potentially Benefit Castroneves

There is no information yet available about the team that will help Castroneves make his first-ever NASCAR start or if he will suit up for the Xfinity Series or Cup Series. He only won the SRX Series on June 18, but the former Speedway Motorsports executive in Hawk has numerous connections to make it happen.

One interesting twist is that NASCAR just introduced new rules that will benefit the NTT IndyCar Series veteran. The new sections — 13.2.7, 13.2.7.1, and 13.2.7.2. — will allow a guest driver to take part in a test session prior to competing in the Cup Series for the first time, provided they have elite credentials from another motorsports series.

Castroneves certainly meets these requirements. He has made 286 starts in the NTT IndyCar Series, and he has celebrated 25 wins and 84 podium finishes. This includes a four-win season in 2006 when he finished third in the championship standings.

Prior to taking part in a test session, however, Castroneves will first have to overcome two hurdles. He will have to be entered in a Cup Series event — if that is the series that he joins for his debut — and the team providing the seat for him will have to request a voucher from NASCAR.

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