Helio Castroneves is open to driving NASCAR and the Daytona 500 expressing his desire to drive a Cup car


Even with a long and accomplished resume after two decades at the highest level of competition, Helio Castroneves’ career has arguably never been better than it is now. At 46, Castroneves has won three of the biggest races in the world in the past 13 months, with back-to-back victories at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona rounding out his fourth win at the Indianapolis 500 last May.

Right now, there are very few races that Castroneves couldn’t say he’s at least tried, let alone conquered. However, what stands out both on his CV and in his head is a lack of stock car opportunities, which he would eventually like to remedy.

Speaking on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday, Castroneves expressed a strong interest in possibly racing in the Daytona 500 or road courses in NASCAR, sharing that he has long wanted to try racing production cars while driving for the Penske team in IndyCar. Castroneves’ interest in production cars was renewed last year when he raced in SRX, gaining experience driving cars with fenders on asphalt and dirt ovals.

“Roger Penske, I drove for him for over 21 years, and – what he probably did was make the right decisions, not allow me to – but he never let me drive a Cup car,” explained Castroneves. “And I said ‘Why not?’ I swear to God, I always asked him, and I stayed there for a long time. I didn’t ask, like, a couple of times. I waited a year or two, and then when he said “No” , another two years, “Hey, what about this? Maybe there is a test I can do? Who knows?” Until he finally said, “No, I won’t let you do that.”

“But now I can. I feel like when I drove the SRX and drove on dirt – which was really cool, I had a great time last year – I I said “Why not? Why not try the Daytona 500, or some kind of a road course, or whatever? That would be something. It would be something I would like to try because I think I would have definitely checked that box on my to-do list.”

Before SRX, the Castroneves closest to racing in stock cars came in the mid-2000s, when he competed in four seasons of IROC competition from 2002 to 2005. Castroneves currently races in IMSA for Meyer Shank Racing, and has served as the team driver for the final stint of the Rolex 24 to win the event for the second consecutive year.

Should the opportunity to race in NASCAR eventually materialize, Castroneves would become the last driver primarily known as an open-wheel and sports car driver to transition to production cars. Notable recent drivers to have made such a leap include Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick and others.


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