Castroneves eyeing NASCAR Cup opportunity after stock car win

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has voiced his ambitions to contest the NASCAR Cup Series' showpiece Daytona 500, with the Brazilian saying "it would be very natural to try".

Castroneves eyeing NASCAR Cup opportunity after stock car win

The Meyer-Shank Racing IndyCar driver won the opening round of the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), a six-race mini-series in which drivers from top US racing categories compete in identical stock cars, at Pensacola last weekend.

Series CEO Don Hawk had told Castroneves that he’d get the Brazilian a ride in the Daytona 500 if he won an SRX race.

Prior to this weekend's second SRX race in South Boston, which also features IndyCar veterans Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Paul Tracy, Hawk said he immediately began to work on fulfilling his promise to the 47-year-old.

“I did all I could do in the shop with SRX on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but my side job was representing Mr. Castroneves,” Hawk explained.

“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.”

Hawk added that entering Castroneves in more than one NASCAR race was also on the cards.

“The intention originally was he really wanted to run the Daytona 500 and if not, a ‘crown jewel’ [race],” said Hawk.

“We’re really going to try to make the Daytona 500 work.”

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Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

For his part, Castroneves said he welcomed the chance to compete in NASCAR as he has tried new motorsport ventures since his spell as a full-timer in Team Penske's IndyCar lineup came to a conclusion in 2017.

Castroneves raced in the IMSA SportsCar Championship full-time between 2018 and 2020, winning the title in his third season with Acura Team Penske, and has claimed back-to-back Daytona 24 Hours victories in the past two years with the Wayne Taylor Racing and MSR Acura squads.

He returned to IndyCar full-time in 2021 with MSR and claimed a record-equalling fourth win at Indianapolis, matching the tallies of AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

“I drove for so many years with Roger Penske and I was not able to get a [NASCAR] opportunity there,” he said.

“Once now I had an opportunity in my contract, then why not? Why not try things that I never did?

“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.”

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