IndyCar

Helio Castroneves kicks off 2022 SRX with Five Flags win

2 Mins read
Credit: Superstar Racing Experience

Hélio Castroneves battling Tony Kanaan is a headline that NTT IndyCar Series fans are accustomed to, except Saturday night’s race was not in open-wheel cars. In fact, even the track they were racing on is more known for its stock cars than anything else.

Castroneves and Kanaan fought for the win for much of the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience season opener at Five Flags Speedway, and the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves trumped the once victor for his first win in the series. He got the ball rolling in Heat #2 by leading every lap.

A late restart saw Heat #1 winner Bubba Pollard, a short track star representing the Pensacola oval as its local champion, quickly climb through the order to take second. Former NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman joined Pollard and Castroneves on the podium. The third-place finish makes Newman the points leader going into next Saturday’s South Boston Speedway round ahead of seven other full-time drivers.

While a perennial fan favourite who scaled the catchfence as he always did for his IndyCar triumphs, Castroneves was not originally entered in the race. Nevertheless, he flew to Florida with the hope that a spare car would be available and his speculation proved accurate as the series carries at least three backup vehicles. The one-off start came with a caveat from SRX CEO Don Hawk, who offered him a chance to début in the Cup Series—particularly at nearby Daytona International Speedway—if he won.  Needless to say, the ball is now in Hawk’s court (PROJECT91, anyone?). Incidentally, Kanaan is also in talks about dabbling in the stock car series.

Castroneves contested the full 2021 SRX schedule and finished fifth in points with a podium. He currently races full-time in IndyCar and has also won an IMSA title.

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverLapsStatus
1506Hélio Castroneves75Running
2126Bubba Pollard75Running
3339Ryan Newman75Running
426Tony Kanaan75Running
5818Bobby Labonte75Running
61269Greg Biffle75Running
71098Marco Andretti75Running
8111Ryan Hunter-Reay75Running
979Bill Elliott75Running
10414Tony Stewart75Running
11135Ernie Francis Jr.75Running
1293Paul Tracy75Running
13615Michael Waltrip75Running

Heat #1

FinishStartNumberDriverLapsStatus
1126Bubba Pollard33Running
236Tony Kanaan33Running
3814Tony Stewart33Running
423Paul Tracy33Running
5698Marco Andretti33Running
641Ryan Hunter-Reay33Running
7539Ryan Newman33Running
81118Bobby Labonte33Running
979Bill Elliott33Running
10969Greg Biffle33Running
111215Michael Waltrip33Running
121306Hélio Castroneves33Running
13105Ernie Francis Jr.32Running

Heat #2

FinishStartNumberDriverLapsStatus
1206Hélio Castroneves33Running
2315Michael Waltrip33Running
3739Ryan Newman33Running
459Bill Elliott33Running
5618Bobby Labonte33Running
6126Tony Kanaan33Running
71326Bubba Pollard33Running
81114Tony Stewart33Running
9469Greg Biffle33Running
10998Marco Andretti33Running
11103Paul Tracy33Running
1281Ryan Hunter-Reay33Running
1315Ernie Francis Jr.14Mechanical
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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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