“The ball is rolling” to land Helio Castroneves a NASCAR ride

Castroneves, a four-time Indianapolis 500 champion, is running a partial schedule in the six-race Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) Series this summer and new series CEO Don Hawk had told him if he won a race, he’d get him a ride in the Daytona 500.

Castroneves wasted no time fulfilling his end of the bargain, winning in his first series appearance last weekend in Pensacola, Fla.

And now it appears Hawk will be true to his word.

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On a conference call Thursday promoting this weekend’s SRX race at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, Hawk said after Castroneves’ SRX win, he went right to work on fulfilling his promise.

“I actually took a little time off to be with my family Sunday. I did all I could do in the shop with SRX on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but my side job was representing Mr. Castroneves,” he said.

“Phone calls have been taking place. The ball is rolling and when he gets up here (this weekend), he’ll know a little more. But we’re not ready to say a whole lot publicly.”

Later in the call, Hawk added: “It all depends on how this all rolls out as to whether we’re going to look at more than one (NASCAR) race or optional races. The intention originally was he really wanted to run the Daytona 500 and if not, a ‘crown jewel’ (race).

“So, we’re really going to try to make the Daytona 500 work.”

Helio’s NASCAR dream

Castroneves, 47, said he welcomed the chance to compete in NASCAR as he has tried new motorsport ventures in recent years.

“I drove for so many years with Roger Penske and I was not able to get a (NASCAR) opportunity there and once now I had an opportunity in my contract, then why not? Why not try things that I never did,” he said.

“So, now I’m trying SRX, IMSA, IndyCar and it would be very natural to try something that I’ve always (wanted), which was NASCAR, so I know it will be great. I know it will be tough but, hey, who knows?

“You never know what to expect and I don’t know because I haven’t drove one. But I want to do the Daytona 500 for sure.”

The SRX series continues this Saturday at South Boston. Joining Castroneves in the race this weekend are local ringer Peyton Sellers, Tony Stewart, Marco Andretti, Greg Biffle, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Paul Tracy, Michael Waltrip, Ernie Francis Jr. and Tony Kanaan.

The race begins at 8 pm ET on CBS and will stream live on Paramount+.

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