When Hélio Castroneves won the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience season opener last Saturday at Five Flags Speedway, he was promised by SRX CEO Don Hawk a chance to race in the NASCAR Cup Series. While a team has not been revealed, let alone a deal finalised, many have suggested Trackhouse Racing Team‘s #91 car, which hopes to give international racing stars a chance to compete in stock car racing’s highest level. Although it does not mean much in the immediate future, one might perceive Trackhouse owner Justin Marks replacing Castroneves for 2 July’s SRX race at Stafford Speedway as a step in that direction.
The SRX opening arose due to what the series simply described as a “scheduling conflict”, though it is obviously in reference to the NTT IndyCar Series‘ race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Although the Honda Indy 200 takes place on Sunday 3 July, the previous day is used for other activities like qualifying and practice. Castroneves, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, is running the full IndyCar schedule with Meyer Shank Racing, whose co-owner Michael Shank has fielded IMSA GTD cars for Marks.
Marks retired as a driver in 2018 to focus on entrepreneurial opportunities, with the highlight easily being Trackhouse Racing Team. After débuting in 2021, the team has blossomed into one of the Cup Series’ finest young organisations with three wins courtesy of Ross Chastain and Daniel Suárez.
While he has not returned to a NASCAR cockpit since his retirement (he quipped in a Reddit AMA that his “ship has sailed!”), Marks occasionally dabbled in series like Trans-Am and late models.
Although SRX driver swaps typically mean the replacement would earn points on the original racer’s behalf, Marks will not impact the standings as Castroneves is not racing for the SRX championship.
“This will be a blast,” tweeted Marks. “Time to knock the rust off and go wheel to wheel with my heroes. Let’s go!!”