Hélio Castroneves was not originally scheduled to compete in the Superstar Racing Experience opener at Five Flags Speedway on Saturday night but left with the trophy anyway.
More importantly, the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner also left the Florida Gulf Coast with the promise of something else he has wanted for well over a decade … a NASCAR opportunity.
Backstory: When Castroneves returned to full-time NTT IndyCar Series competition this spring, it meant he couldn’t run the full SRX campaign, but new league CEO Donald Hawk really wanted to keep him in the mix as frequently as possible.
So, they cut a deal in January: Run as many races as he could, and if Castroneves could win one of them, Hawk would call upon his vast NASCAR connections to get him in a car at Daytona in exchange.
— Racing America —
Just asked Don Hawk about what Helio said on TV
When Hawk took over as SRX CEO, he made a deal with Helio, 'win a race, and I'll get you a ride at Daytona.'
That's what he was alluding to.
Hawk: "That was our deal; we're going to do it."
Helio wasn't even scheduled for today
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverRA) June 19, 2022