Celebrity Racing Expertise was envisioned as a collection for former greats who nonetheless had the abilities and want to compete and they might sq. off in identically ready vehicles at six of America’s basic brief tracks.
Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart took nice care in extending invitations to the made-for-TV league they’d co-created. They thoughtfully pulled in a dozen of probably the most iconic names in modern-day motorsports.
By no means did they anticipate the reigning Indianapolis 500 winner to be within the discipline for the inaugural race.
Helio Castroneves has no full-time job this season, so becoming a member of SRX was a no brainer. He does have a six-race IndyCar deal, nonetheless, and it included the Indy 500 — the race Stewart tried 5 occasions to win earlier than giving up on his childhood dream.
Stewart was there as a spectator two weeks in the past when Castroneves shocked the sphere and have become simply the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner within the 105-year historical past of the race. The Brazilian was unable to parlay the victory right into a experience at IndyCar’s doubleheader at Detroit this weekend, so he will probably be with SRX at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut when the collection goes inexperienced Saturday night time reside on CBS.
“I am positive we’re all going to have particular passes simply to be allowed on pit street subsequent to him now that he is a four-time winner of the Indy 500,” Stewart mentioned. “His head will probably be swollen, he’ll be fortunate to get that helmet on over that head and everyone knows how a lot he loves his hair and needs to guard his hair.
“All joking apart, to be solely the fourth four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and having him with the SRX Collection is all one thing we’re extraordinarily happy with for his accomplishment and we’re excited to deliver him again to actuality and present him it is not going to be that simple for the subsequent six weeks.”
Properly, Castroneves has received the one two races he is entered to date this season.
Nonetheless, SRX will probably be a very new expertise for a lot of the 12-driver discipline, which at Stafford will characteristic NASCAR Corridor of Famers Stewart, Invoice Elliott and Bobby Labonte, together with Greg Biffle, Michael Waltrip, Willy T. Ribbs, Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy and Marco Andretti, in addition to Ernie Francis Jr., an achieved street racer who at 23 is the youngest within the discipline.
SRX every week will invite a neighborhood racer from the internet hosting observe into the occasion; at Stafford, it is going to be 41-year-old Doug Coby, a Connecticut native with six championships on NASCAR’s Whelen Modified Tour.
The backers of the league, CBS included, love the dynamic of an underdog upstaging a nationwide nice.
“From the CBS standpoint I feel that is an awesome story,” mentioned CBS Sports activities chairman Sean McManus. “That is Rocky Balboa if that seems to be the story and a few of the nice legends within the historical past of motor racing are being bested by the native hero. That is a reasonably darned good story.”
Stafford Speedway mentioned all 10,000 seats are bought for Saturday night time and the recognition is predicted to proceed as SRX strikes on to a few of the most prestigious grassroot venues within the nation. SRX goes subsequent week to Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, then the Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway in Ohio, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin and eventually Nashville Fairgrounds.
Tenting World signed on as title sponsor of SRX a month in the past, and the collection was already backed by The Montag Group CEO Sandy Montag and Bruin Capital CEO George Pyne.
CBS, seeking to fill a Saturday night time summertime void, signed on earlier than SRX even introduced its existence and the partnership is a multi-year settlement.
“It is America’s most watched community,” Montag mentioned. “We all know we’ll do fairly nicely there.”
Veteran motorsports producer Pam Miller was introduced in to steer the published and assembled a expertise staff that features rotating driver analysts Danica Patrick, James Hinchcliffe and Dario Franchitti.
If that wasn’t sufficient, SRX: The Sport launched two weeks in the past for consoles and the PC that gave a sneak peek of what is to come back the subsequent six weeks.
Elliott, who’s 65 and the daddy of reigning NASCAR Cup Collection champion Chase Elliott, mentioned there’s nothing else in motorsports proper now akin to SRX. It’s modeled after the outdated Worldwide Race of Champions collection that pitted the very best drivers from varied disciplines in equally ready vehicles for 30 seasons. Stewart received its ultimate championship in 2006 earlier than IROC folded.
“The entire concept of the collection may be very distinctive and really unusual to all the pieces else,” Elliott mentioned. “It is virtually like going to golf. You’ve got bought older gents competing in opposition to youthful ones in a match and that is going to be type of the identical factor.
“I do not present feelings a lot and if you happen to may see me from the within, you’d see how emotional this actually is. To get began and get going, that is the place I wish to be, you realize? To heck with the speak and the present, I wish to get the present on the street.”