What drivers said after the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway

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After a long weekend marked by fog, rain and interminable waiting at Pocono Raceway, there was much to say after the Pennsylvania 400 despite the race ending 22 laps short of its scheduled distance.

Here’s some of what drivers said after the 21st Sprint Cup race of the 2016 season:

Chris Buescher – Winner: “That’s pretty awesome.  Wild circumstances here at Pocono.  This is gonna change our whole year right here, so this puts us in a good situation where we had a good day.  It was a lot of fun.  The guys really toughed it out.  We got a flat tire, but we’re headed in the right direction now, so that will help in points.  We got a win here, so we’ll take it any way we can get it.” (On if the team has momentum) “Yes, we’ve been definitely headed in the right direction.  The last six or seven weeks have been really good for us.  Kentucky was gonna be excellent for us, but is just didn’t play out.  It’s pretty awesome to be here right now.  I don’t know what to do right now.  We don’t have any of the team here right now.  The car is out on pit road.  This is a little different way to celebrate.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished second: “Probably five more laps and I think we would have been in great shape, but that’s the way it goes.  We had really good speed on the green flag pit stop cycle, which got us in a position to take over the lead and hopefully control the race, but there’s nothing you can do about the fog rolling in.  That’s just part of it and either way I’m really kind of pumped up for Chris.  That’s big to win a race and get in the Chase.  It’s been an interesting weekend here in Pocono.  It’s been a lot of fun.  I’m really proud of everybody on this Alliance Truck Parts Fusion team.”

Regan Smith – Finished third: “It’s been a strange weekend really weather wise.  There were times yesterday I thought we were going to get to race and the track had like a pond underneath it apparently.  I’m just proud of Tommy (Baldwin) and then the guys on the box for kind of realizing there was opportunity for a strategy play there.  We have had a decent run today. We were a lot better than we were last time here.  We have made a lot of gains with our race car and with our team.  When you are a small team you’ve got to take those opportunities when you can.  Fortunately, we were getting good enough fuel mileage to just keep trying to stretch it and have enough left for when the caution did come out.  I don’t know that we could have predicted it would have been from fog.  I think we were just trying to do what we could do to make sure we maintained as far up as we could and maybe lead a lap or something like that.  That is what you’ve got to do sometimes.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished fourth: “Our Chevy has been really fast. Obviously, we had one caution come out at the wrong time and the fog here at the end; I felt like we were in a pretty good spot running down to (Turn) 2 and here comes the fog. That’s kind of the way that things have gone this year. It seems like when we have a really fast car we just have some weird circumstances. (Are you encouraged by the speed this week?) Well, we got out butt kicked last week; the whole field did, by the No. 18 (Kyle Busch). I think as you look at that, that’s always been kind of a hit and miss race track over the last few years for us. But, the car has been really fast this week and it was really fast at Loudon. We’ve had the speed at most of the places; we just haven’t had things go right. It’s just things like this that you keep adding to a very long list of 2016.”

Tony Stewart – Finished fifth: “I’m pretty happy with it.”

Kyle Larson – Finished sixth (on his battle with Austin Dillon): “I don’t think you ever want to expect contact, but obviously we were racing really hard.  I was doing all I could to stay in front of him and he was doing all he could to get by me.  We battled hard down the front stretch one time and then he got back to my inside into Turn 3.  I left him plenty of room I was just going to try and run side-by-side with him again and try and slow him down on the front stretch.  I guess he got loose underneath me and got into our door.  That was pretty frustrating at the time, but it happens to not even really matter.  That part of the race doesn’t matter at all.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished seventh: “My car was pretty fast. It’s fast by itself for a few laps and then we lose a little bit of speed, but I think we had a top-three or four car. … It’s frustrating, but it’s mountain weather. We’re up here in the mountains and stuff comes and goes. We’re in the middle of summer where there’s pop-up showers all of the time so it’s just we get lucky here sometimes but more times than not we fight the weather up here for sure.”

Carl Edwards – Finished eighth: “I think our Toyota is better than eighth-place, so I really wanted to go racing. We were hoping it cleared up for these fans with everyone waiting around an awful lot. I would have liked one more shot at it.  I tried to keep up with (the weather) for a little while and I just said, ‘Heck with it, I don’t know what everyone is doing, what tires everyone is on.’ Dave (Rogers, crew chief) has a good plan. There for a little while it looked like it was going to work out I let a couple guys get by that I shouldn’t have.”

Kyle Busch – Finished ninth: “Our car was OK. We were really, really fast when we were by ourselves but anytime we got to within five lengths of the guys in front of us, we just couldn’t do anything with it. Just got really aero tight this time. We weren’t that bad when we were here last time. I’m not sure what’s different for us. We just didn’t quite figure it out.” (on the fog) “I thought it was fun. The spotters said, ‘Hey I can’t see,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, fine whatever let’s keep going.’ I think all of us can pretty much handle ourselves. We’re not idiots but occasionally we do look like we are. I guess you’ve got to play it safe when you’re around all of us out there.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 10th, set NASCAR record by finishing all the laps in the first 21 races of he season: “It’s nice to be in position to have completed all the laps. That is done with a lot of team work.  It’s not just one person.  It starts at the shop with the quality of cars and congratulations to everybody that has helped be part of this sequence.  All-in-all we are finishing on the lead lap, we are finishing top 10 every week.  We just know that we need to find a little bit more to be competitive once the Chase starts.  All-in-all I can’t say thank you enough to everybody on the No. 41 SHR car. (on his race) I felt like we were making all the right calls and all the right sequences on when to pit and we just had one adjustment go astray.  We tried to loosen up the car with a left-rear wedge change and we ended up getting tighter.  Sometimes that has happened to us this year and we just need to not fall into that pit fall and make sure we steer clear of wrong adjustments or adjustments that are questionable until we have a better handle on it.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 11th: “I didn’t think we were too bad.  I thought we actually had a really good race car, but it didn’t really play out in our favor of getting track position.  We got it and took a gamble on rain and it didn’t, and then we lost all of it and had to drive back up through the field.  We should have cycled out about ninth right there, and the fog rolled in.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 13th: “It’s been very awesome.  Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and the guys did a great job going into today to make the right adjustments.  Turn 3 has been our strong suit. We could really get a run down the front stretch on guys.  It’s was fun racing with (Kyle Larson) today.  It was a heck of a race. … We’ve just got to keep working.  We proved today that we’ve got the speed to win we’ve just got to work on all the other aspects.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 14th: “We started off a little tight there.  I thought we made good adjustments throughout the course of the day.  I could kind of use the trackbar to help kind of guide the car the way I needed to.  I feel like we had an eighth- to 12th-place car when were at our best.  I think we still just need a little bit more to get to that next level of cars, but I felt like we just made good changes.  Strategy kind of never worked out.  I felt like we kind of always kind of got in the back of the field when the strategy kind of happened.  We were able to pass cars and got what we got.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 16th despite a hole in the nose of his car: “It happened early. I think they pointed it out to me on Lap 2. I really don’t know where it came from. But, it was just above the bumper bar where the bowtie sits on the nose of the car. There’s a huge rip there. At first, the balance was off a little bit. The car was pretty tight and slow on the straights. And then they were able to get that patched up. They worked on it two or three times, and we lost track position doing so. (Is the team improving?)  “You leave Indy and think absolutely; and you have a long agonizing today from Lap 2, and you forget what happened at Indy. It’s crazy how humbling this sport is. The good news, and I’ve watched (teamamte Kasey Kahne) and I can’t believe how fast that car is down the straights and through the corners. I know track position isn’t working for him right now via strategy, but watching him pick cars off and move forward looks good. So, we may not have sunshine right now on the No. 48, but maybe on another car at Hendrick Motorsports. And we’ll keep stacking these pennies and hopefully be better when it comes down to the Chase.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished 16th: “I’ve seen Bob Osborne (Chris Buescher’s crew chief) win a lot of races with Carl (Edwards), so I think the situation they had nothing to lose and do something like that to hope it works out. He’s a good guy and a great race car driver. I’d hoped we get to go back to green and run, 17th is not where we want to end the day. We had a car that probably could have went from fifth to tenth. We were OK, just got loose in track position with the way the cautions flew and pitted and restarts. … I think we could probably pass several cars. I’m not sure we can get much further than 10th with restarts and getting jumbled up and getting some spots through turn one once we get single-file, I’ve had a hard time passing today. We were a lot better the last race here when we had track position where today it was hard to make up much ground.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 19th: “It was a long weekend.  We got up to sixth at one point and we didn’t need that caution because then we had to start on the top and we weren’t good enough to really be there.  We got there on strategy to ninth and then got a good restart up to sixth.  It would have been tough for them to pass me under green and had a caution there.  I got moved out of the way by some guys and ended up sliding back, and then pitted.  There were a lot of guys that short-pitted that were probably gonna run out of gas, but the strategy didn’t play out for us.”

Greg Biffle – Finished 25th: “At one point in the race we had good strategy, and we had a good car, but it’s unfortunate how it ended.  It’s just unfortunate.  We have about a Top-10 car and mine was pretty good out front.  It was nice to lead some laps and while we still have some work to do, we’re making gains.  We’re doing all we can and trying our best every week.”

Jeff Gordon, – Finished 27th after a problem with fastening his seat belt: “Yeah, it’s the first time I’ve ever had that happen with this type of mechanism where you just plug it in and it latches. I’ve had it happen under the old system with the old buckle. I was actually at Sonoma one time leading the race and we went right off the next corner when it happened. I was able to get that one latched. This one, I thought I had it latched because it happened actually on pit road one time. And I got it latched and lost some time. And then we were in a pretty good position on the restart and went to take off and as soon as I went into second and third, just that little bit of a side movement just pulled it out. It would go in and sort of latch, but when you wiggled it from left to right, it would pop right out. So, I don’t know if there is something lodged in there, or what happened or why it took so long for that to play out, but I knew I couldn’t go down into Turn 1 on these crazy restarts without a right-side seat belt”

Chase Elliott – Finished 33rd, on his recent slump: “Oh, it’s just poor decisions on my behalf I think, is the biggest thing. So, the best way to fix it is obviously to see it at first and notice it and just go to work and like I said, rethink my approach. It’s definitely not working. We’ve had good cars. We had a good car today. I felt like we were a step in the right direction from where we had been the last couple of weeks, which I felt like was a good sign. I just didn’t do my part. I need to rethink things and try to do a better job and put us in a better position. It’s not bad luck. It’s just me putting us in bad spots.”

Joey Logano – Finished 37th: “It was good for a while. The team did a great job. The Shell Pennzoil Ford was fast and really good on restarts. We were able to drive up to the lead a few times. Only if it had rained a little earlier we would have had a lot different outcome. We had a new rear carrier today and he came out of the gate swinging which is awesome. I am super proud of that. There were a lot of positives today. We just ended on a negative note racing hard and trying to get back up there after that caution. We all had to pit because we tried to win the race when it rained and we lost our track position and then the 24 got loose under me. It is just part of racing. It stinks to be on this end of it. It is just part of it.”

Surveying key race dates for the 2023 Cup season

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NASCAR Cup Series cars will fire up again Feb. 5 as the 2023 season begins with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.

Two weeks later, the regular season opens with the Feb. 19 Daytona 500, for decades the curtain-raiser for the Cup Series’ 10-month cross-country marathon.

With only a single week break in mid-June, the Cup schedule visits familiar stops like Darlington, Bristol, Martinsville, Talladega and Dover but adds two new locations that should be highlights of the year — North Wilkesboro and Chicago.

Here’s a look at key races for each month of the season:

February — With all due respect to the unique posture of the Clash at the Coliseum (Feb. 5) and the apparent final race on the 2-mile track at Auto Club Speedway (Feb. 26) before it’s converted to a half-mile track, the Daytona 500 won’t be surpassed as a February highlight. Since the winter of 1959, the best stock car racers in the land have gathered on the Atlantic shore to brighten the winter, and the results often are memorable. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Jeff Gordon and so many others have starred on Daytona’s high ground, and sometimes even rookies shine (see Austin Cindric’s victory last year).

MORE: Friday 5: Legacy aiming for breakout season

March — The newly reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway saw its racing radically changed last year with higher banks and straights that are tighter. The track now is considered more in the Daytona/Talladega superspeedway “family” than an intermediate speedway, generating a bit of the unknown for close pack racing. William Byron and Chase Elliott won at AMS last year.

April — Ah, the return to Martinsville (April 16). Despite the rumors, Ross Chastain’s wild last-lap charge in last October’s Martinsville race did not destroy the speedway. Will somebody try to duplicate Chastain’s move this time? Not likely, but no one expected what he did, either.

May — North Wilkesboro Speedway is back. Abandoned by NASCAR in 1996, the track’s revival reaches its peak May 21 when the Cup All-Star Race comes to town, putting Cup cars on one of stock car racing’s oldest tracks for the first time in a quarter century.

June — The June 11 Sonoma road course race will end 17 consecutive weeks of racing for the Cup Series. The schedule’s only break is the following weekend, with racing resuming June 25 at Nashville Superspeedway. Sonoma last year opened the door for the first Cup win by Daniel Suarez.

July — The July holiday weekend will offer one of the biggest experiments in the history of NASCAR. For the first time, Cup cars will race through the streets of a major city, in this case Chicago on July 2. If the race is a success, similar events could follow on future schedules.

August — The Aug. 26 race at Daytona is the final chance for drivers to qualify for the playoffs, ratcheting up the tension of the late-summer race considerably.

September — The Cup playoffs open with the Southern 500, making Darlington Raceway a key element in determining which drivers have easier roads in advancing to the next round.

October — The Oct. 29 Martinsville race is the last chance to earn a spot in the Championship Four with a race victory. Christopher Bell did it last year in a zany finish.

November — Phoenix. The desert. Four drivers, four cars and four teams for the championship.

 

Trackhouse Racing picks up additional sponsorship from Kubota

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Trackhouse Racing announced Friday that it has picked up additional sponsorship for drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez from Kubota Tractor Corp. for the 2023 season.

Kubota sponsored Chastain’s No. 1 Chevrolet last October at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is expanding its sponsorship to six races for the new season.

Chastain will race with Kubota sponsorship at Auto Club Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Homestead-Miami. Suarez’s Chevrolet will carry Kubota livery at Texas Motor Speedway.

MORE: Friday 5: Legacy seeks breakout year in 2023

The team also announced that a $10,000 donation will be made to Farmer Veteran Coalition for each Kubota-sponsored race in which Chastain finishes in the top 10. The FVC assists military veterans and current armed services members who have an interest in farming.

“The sponsorship from Kubota is especially meaningful to me because it allows me to use my platform to shine a bright light on agriculture and on the men and women who work so hard to feed all of us,” said Chastain, whose family owns a Florida watermelon farm.

 

Friday 5: Legacy MC seeks to stand out as Trackhouse did in ’22

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While the celebration continued after Erik Jones’ Southern 500 victory last September, executives of what is now Legacy MC already were looking ahead.

“(September) and October, decisions we make on people are going to affect how we race next (February), March and April,” Mike Beam, team president, told NBC Sports that night.

Noah Gragson had been announced as the team’s second driver for 2023 less than a month before Jones’ win. 

But bigger news was to come. 

The team announced Nov. 4 that Jimmie Johnson would become a co-owner, lifting the profile of a team that carries Richard Petty’s No. 43 on Jones’ cars.

As February approaches and racing resumes, a question this season is how far can Legacy MC climb. Can this team mimic the breakout season Trackhouse Racing had last year?

“I think everybody looks for Trackhouse for … maybe the way of doing things a bit different,” Jones told NBC Sports. “Obviously, starting with the name. We’ve kind of gone that same direction with Legacy MC and then on down from there, kind of how a program can be built and run in a short amount of time.

“There’s some growth in the back end that we still have to do to probably be totally to that level, but our goal is definitely to be on that same trajectory that Trackhouse was over the last two seasons.”

Trackhouse Racing debuted in 2021 with Daniel Suarez. He finished 25th in the points. The organization added Ross Chastain and several team members from Chip Ganassi Racing to form a two-car team last year. Chastain won two races and finished second in the points, while Suarez won once and was 10th in the standings. 

Legacy MC co-owner Maury Gallagher purchased a majority interest in Richard Petty Motorsports in December 2021 and merged the two teams. Jones won one race and placed 18th in points last year. Ty Dillon was winless, finishing 29th in points and was replaced by Gragson after the season. 

“Legitimately, we were a pretty new team last year coming in,” Jones said. “There were a handful of Richard Petty Motorsports guys who came over, but, for the most part, it was a brand new team.

“I think what we built in one year and done is similar to Trackhouse in their first year. I think maybe even we were a step ahead of where they were in their first year.”

Legacy MC looks for more with Jones, Gragson and Johnson, who will run a limited schedule this year. Johnson will seek to make the Daytona 500 field.

Jones said Johnson has infused the team with energy. Gragson has been trying to soak up as much as he can from Johnson.

Gragson told NBC Sports that having Johnson as a teammate is “going to be an incredible opportunity for a young guy like myself, first year in the Cup series, a rookie, to be able to lean on a seven-time champion.

“Incredible person, friend, mentor that Jimmie has become for myself. He’s probably going to be pretty over me by the time we get to the Daytona 500 because I just keep wearing him out with questions and trying … pick his brain.”

2. Kyle Busch’s impact

Car owner Richard Childress says that Kyle Busch already is making an impact at RCR.

Busch joins the organization after having spent the past 15 seasons driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch will pilot the No. 8 Chevrolet for RCR this year.

He took part in a World Racing League endurance race at Circuit of the Americas in December with Austin Dillon and Sheldon Creed. The trio won one of those races.

“I was down there for that, just watching how (Busch) gets in there and works with everybody,” Childress said. “He’s a racer. He wants to win. That’s what I love about him.”

Childress sees the influence Busch can have on an organization that has won six Cup titles — but none since Dale Earnhardt’s last crown in 1994 — and 113 series races.

“He brings a lot of experience and knowledge,” Childress said of Busch. “I think he’ll help Austin a lot in his career. I think he can help our whole organization from a standpoint of what do we need … to go faster.

Dillon told NBC Sports that the team has changed some things it does in its meetings based on feedback from Busch. Dillon also said that he and Busch have similar driving styles — more similar than Dillon has had with past teammates. 

“I think as we go throughout the year and he gets to drive our race cars, he’ll have some new thoughts that he’ll bring,” Dillon said of Busch. “I think we’re already bringing some new thoughts to him, too.”

3. New role for Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick, entering his final Cup season, has joined the Drivers Advisory Council, a move Joey Logano said is important for the group.

“Kevin is necessary to the sport, even post-driving career,” Logano told NBC Sports. “He’s necessary for our sport’s success. Kevin sees it and does something about it. 

“He’s always been vocal, right? He’s always been very brash, and like, boom in your face. That’s what people love about Kevin Harvick. Something I like about him as well is that you know where you stand. You know where the weaknesses are. 

“He’s going to push until something happens. That’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that. Having him on the Advisory Council now for the drivers, his experience, but also his willingness to push, is important.”

Jeff Burton again will lead the group as Director of the Council. The Board of Directors is: Harvick, Logano, Kyle Petty, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Corey LaJoie, Kurt Busch and Tom Buis.

Logano, Petty, Dillon, Suarez, LaJoie and Busch all return. Buis, a board member of Growth Energy after having previously been the company’s CEO, joins the drivers group and provides a business background. 

4. Finding one’s voice

Chase Briscoe’s contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing means he could be the longest tenured driver there in the near future.

The 28-year Briscoe enters his third Cup season at SHR, but the landscape is changing. This will be Kevin Harvick’s final season in Cup. Ryan Preece is in his first season driving in Cup for the team. Aric Almirola was supposed to have retired last year but came back. How long he remains is to be determined.

Those changes could soon leave Briscoe as the team’s senior driver.

“It’s a role that is crazy, truthfully, to think about because that could be me in the next year or two, being I wouldn’t say that flagship guy, but being a leader as far as the drivers go in an organization,” Briscoe said.

“Truthfully, I feel like that’s something I want to be. I’ve always enjoyed that kind of leader, team building type of stuff. So, yeah, if that role is kind of placed on me naturally, then that’s one that I would love to have and try to do it to the best of my ability. I feel like that’s a role that you don’t choose, it kind of chooses you.”

Briscoe, who won the spring Phoenix race and made the playoffs last year, said that he’s becoming more comfortable speaking up in team meetings. 

“I look back, especially on my rookie year, we’d go into our competition meeting on Tuesday and, truthfully, I wouldn’t really talk much,” he said. “I would say kind of what we thought for the weekend, but outside of that I would just kind of sit there and listen.  

“This past year, I definitely talked a lot more, and I’d bring up ideas and kind of say things I wanted to get off my chest, where in the past I wouldn’t have done that. I feel like as I’ve gotten more confident in myself and my position, I’ve gotten to the point where I speak my mind a little bit more and, I guess, be a little bit more of a leader.”

5. Busch Clash field

NASCAR released the preliminary entry list for the Feb. 5 Busch Clash. No surprise, the entry list features only the 36 charter teams. Those teams are required to be entered.

With 27 cars in the feature — which is expanded by four cars from last year’s race — there’s no guarantee a non-charter car could make the field. That’s a lot of money to go across country and face the chance of missing the main event.

The Daytona 500 field has four spots for non-charter cars. With that race’s payoff significantly more, it will attract at least five cars for those spots: Jimmie Johnson (Legacy MC), Zane Smith (Front Row Motorsports), Chandler Smith (Kaulig Racing), Austin Hill (Beard Motorsports) and Travis Pastrana (23XI Racing). Helio Castroneves confirmed Thursday that he will not enter the 500. He had been in talks with the team co-owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather.

Helio Castroneves rules out Daytona 500

Helio Castroneves Daytona 500
Robert Scheer/Indy Star/USA TODAY NETWORK
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Helio Castroneves might be at the 2023 Daytona 500, but the four-time Indy 500 winner won’t be in a race car.

During a news conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, Castroneves confirmed in response to a question from NBC Sports that he essentially has ruled out attempting to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Feb. 19 season opener.

As recently as last Thursday at Rolex 24 Media Day, Castroneves, 47, said he still was working on trying to piece together a deal.

The Brazilian had been negotiating with the Cup team co-owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather and would have been in an “open” entry that lacked guaranteed entry to the Great American Race. That potentially would leave him in the precarious position of needing to make the race on qualifying speed or a qualifying race finish (as action sports star Travis Pastrana likely might need in his Cup debut).

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“Unfortunately for me, lack of experience, no testing,” Castroneves said. “A lot of things. I believe it would be a little bit tough throwing myself in such a short notice, and to go in a place that you’ve got to race yourself into it. So as of right now, yes, it’s not going to happen.

“But we did have an opportunity. We just got to elaborate a little bit more to give me a little more experience on that. So there is more things to come ahead of us, but as of right now, I want to focus on the IndyCar program as well and (the Rolex 24 at Daytona).”

Castroneves, who has a residence in Key Biscayne, said he still might attend the Daytona 500

“I might just come and see and watch it and continue to take a look and see what’s going to be in the future,” he said.

Castroneves enters Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona having won the event the past two years. He made his signature fence-climb after winning last year with Meyer Shank Racing, which he will be driving for full time in the NTT IndyCar Series this year. He became the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner in history in his 2021 debut with Meyer Shank Racing.

The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion also has indicated an interest in Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 car that aims to place international drivers in a Cup ride (such as Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen International last year). Team co-owner Justin Marks recently tweeted Trackhouse wouldn’t field the Project 91 car at the Daytona 500.

After winning the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience opener, SRX CEO Don Hawk had promised he would help secure a Daytona 500 ride for Castroneves.

Castroneves has been angling for a NASCAR ride for years, dating to when he drove for Team Penske from 2000-20. After winning the Rolex 24 last year, he said he had been lobbying Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for help with getting in a Cup car.

Though Castroneves is out, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that Mayweather’s The Money Team Racing still is considering IndyCar driver Conor Daly for its seat.