SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Two years after he returned to full-time IndyCar racing, Helio Castroneves has decided he will be stepping back.
On Friday, Castroneves and the Meyer Shank Racing ownership contingent in Jim Meyer and Michael Shank announced that Castroneves will become a minority stakeholder in the racing team and will return in 2024 for a one-off attempt to try and qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
The four-time Indy 500 winner wanted to make one thing clear right out of the gate.
I want to be very clear: I am not retiring, okay,” Castroneves said. “I just want to make sure people understand that. Actually, my line is open now to do other series. I can do SRX, IMSA, NASCAR, Stockcar Brazil, whatever the lines ring.”
But, he said even though all that his main focus is still IndyCar, mainly his “Drive fo 5.”
“I still have a lot of fire inside me, a lot of energy that I want to burn, but now I’m going to focus that burn in the Indy 500,” said Castroneves.
We began talking with Helio, I don’t know, more than a couple months ago,” said MSR co-owner Jim Meyer. “We had a couple of great conversations about what Helio wanted, what we thought was really good for our sponsors, what’s great for Meyer Shank Racing. We’re really pleased to be able to make this announcement today.”
Castroneves steps aside; Blomqvist is in
With Helio Castroneves taking a step into the front office of MSR, the team is moving their sports car veteran Tom Blomqvist over to take over on a full-time basis in the No. 06 ride.
“It’s a big thing for me. It’s obviously a step up in terms of career trajectory,” Blomqvist said. “That’s something I’m really excited about.”
Blomqvist made his IndyCar debut at Toronto in late July subbing in for Simon Pagenaud in the No. 60 car. Pagenaud has been sidelined with concussion-like symptoms after a wreck at Mid-Ohio.
Blomqvist’s debut lasted just one turn as he was collected in a wreck in the back of the field on the race’s first lap.
He’s said he’s glad to be back in a single-seater series after spending the last decade racing sports cars in several different series, the latest being in the IMSA Weather Tech Sportscar Series since 2019 with MSR.
“I’m kind of coming back to my roots. It’s been almost I think nine, eight years since I last stepped foot properly in a single-seater series,” Blomqvist said. “It’s something I grew up with the goal of obviously chasing that Formula 1 dream. I kind of sidestepped that for quite a while really.”
Blomqvist has also had starts in the FIA Formula E series sprinkled within his full-time duties in IMSA.
It’s not clear yet who MSR will have in the No. 60 car next season. Though Jim Meyer and Michael Shank said that Pagenaud is progressing well in his recovery, they have not spoken to whether or not he will return next season.
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