It’s entirely possible that four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will be at the 2023 Daytona 500, but it will be as a member of the media or as an onlooker because he’s already ruled out driving in the iconic race.
During a news conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, Castroneves was asked if he will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut at the February 19 race.
“Helio says he has ruled out the [NASCAR] season opener for 2023, but he still wants to race here in the future and might attend in February just to watch,” wrote NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan.
During a @Rolex24Hours availability, i asked @h3lio if he still is working on a Daytona 500 debut next month.
Helio says he has ruled out the #nascar season opener for 2023, but he still wants to race here in the future and might attend in February just to watch. pic.twitter.com/4J5clZ09hi
— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) January 26, 2023
The 47-year-old had been saying that he was attempting to put together a deal that would have allowed him to compete in the Great American Race. He had even been in negotiations with The Money Team Racing, which is co-owned by Floyd Mayweather, but even if he were able to drive for them he still would have had to qualify beforehand, which was no guarantee.
“Unfortunately for me, lack of experience, no testing,” Castroneves said, per NBC Sports. “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).”
However, it sounds like he might still be on hand to see Daytona in person.
“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.