Castroneves had planned to run a partial schedule in the Superstar Racing Experience Series (SRX) this season but not the season opener at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
However, that changed Friday night when Castroneves asked if it was too late to join and he was added to make it a 13-car field.
He didn’t disappoint, winning one of the heat races, then took control of the main event from his IndyCar Series buddy Tony Kanaan on Lap 62 of 75 and cruised to the checkered flag.
“I pulled every string, every sweat I had there. What a fun series man. That was so much fun,” Castroneves said. “Thanks to SRX for the opportunity. I wasn’t even supposed to be here today and look, we ended up getting the trophy.
“It shows this series is amazing and I’m so happy, so happy.”
Late Model star and former Five Flags track champion Bubba Pollard finished second and former Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman rounded out the podium.
Podium SRX Series Pensacola: Race winner Helio Castroneves, 2nd Bubba Pollard, third place Ryan Newman
Photo by: SRX
“It was a lot of fun racing. I can’t thank everyone enough for this opportunity. Once in a lifetime opportunity,” Pollard said. “I can’t say enough about SRX, HightPoint coming on board, everyone that has helped me get here. It’s been a lot of fun.”
The six-race series now heads to South Boston (Va.) Speedway on Saturday. Local ringer Peyton Sellers will join Tony Stewart, Marco Andretti, Greg Biffle, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Bobby Labonte, Newman, Paul Tracy, Michael Waltrip, Castroneves, Ernie Francis Jr. and Kanaan in the field.
The action kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and will stream live on Paramount+.
Main Event Results at Five Flags Speedway:
Main Event Results
1. Helio Castroneves
2. Bubba Pollard
3. Ryan Newman
4. Tony Kanaan
5. Bobby Labonte
6. Greg Biffle
7. Marco Andretti
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay
9. Bill Elliott
10. Tony Stewart
11. Ernie Francis Jr.
12. Paul Tracy
13. Michael Waltrip