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Helio Castroneves to be inducted into Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame

by Mike Haag | Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Courtesy of TMS Media Relations

FORT WORTH, Texas – For the first time in nearly a decade, the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame will be inducting two new members at its annual event that benefits the Speedway Children’s Charities Texas Chapter.

Helio Castroneves walks pit lane prior to the final practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Photo by Joe Skibinski

Helio Castroneves will become the 21st member inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame when he is honored during a special ceremony held in The Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom on Saturday, Nov. 3, during the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR playoff tripleheader weekend. Castroneves joins retired NASCAR star Carl Edwards, who was announced as the 20th inductee last week.

The event will mark the first dual induction since 2000 Cup champion and Corpus Christi native Bobby Labonte and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. founder Bruton Smith were recognized in 2008. It also will be the sixth time overall.

NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs as well as drivers Kevin Harvick and Christopher Bell, who are each favorites to win championships in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series, respectively, also will be honored at the ceremony slated to begin at 11 a.m. CT.

Helio Castroneves celebrates with a fence climb after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. Photo by Chris Jones

The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame luncheon serves as a major fundraiser for the Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter. Tickets are priced at $75 and include a gourmet Texas barbeque.

Castroneves is the most dominant INDYCAR driver in Texas Motor Speedway history. He owns track records for most wins (4), top 10s (15), top fives (11) and laps led (506) over the course of his record 20 career starts. He also recorded one pole position.

Two years after a dramatic finish in which he was runner-up to Sam Hornish Jr. by 0.0096 of a second – the second-closest finish in TMS history – Castroneves finally found his way into Texas Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane in October of 2004. Starting from the pole position, Castroneves led 104 laps and survived a late charge from fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan to win the Chevy 500.

He would become a multiple winner at Texas Motor Speedway with another victory in June of 2006 and then go on to join Hornish Jr. as the only three-time winners with a triumph in June of 2009. He would take sole possession as INDYCAR’s winningest driver at Texas Motor Speedway with his final victory in June of 2013. He dominated the Firestone 550 that year as he led 132 laps and finished nearly five seconds ahead of runner-up Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Helio Castroneves and Will Power barrel through Turn 1 during practice for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Photo by: Chris Owens

Edwards, Castroneves’ fellow inductee, wasted little time trying to find his way to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway, winning in just his second career start on Nov. 6, 2005 in the inaugural Dickies 500.

Three years later, he became the first driver to sweep both Cup Series races in the same weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, taking April’s Samsung 500 and November’s Dickies 500 in 2008. And on Nov. 6, 2016 – exactly 11 years after his first win at TMS – Edwards recorded the final win of his Cup Series career when he took the checkered flag in the rain-shortened AAA Texas 500.

Edwards also was a two-time winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, having won the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge in November 2010 and the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 in April 2011.

Gibbs will receive the Bruton Smith Legend Award for his leadership in his role as a championship-winning team owner. With more than 300 wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series, Gibbs has already solidified himself as one of the top owners in NASCAR history. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and won three Super Bowls as head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Helio Castroneves looks down pit lane prior to the start of the open test at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo by Chris Jones

Joe Gibbs Racing has won four Cup Series championships, five crowns in the Xfinity Series and has been successful at Texas Motor Speedway with seven Cup wins among four different drivers, including victories in three of the last five races. Gibbs also is the author of the New York Times best-selling book “Game Plan For Life”, which is the name of his corresponding ministry (www.gameplanforlife.com).

Harvick will be honored with the 2017 Racer of the Year award after a strong finish in April and a drought-ending victory last fall. Harvick led 77 laps and finished fourth in last year’s spring race, and then returned to Fort Worth as a man on a mission in November. With only a road course win on his 2017 resume through 33 races, Harvick punched his ticket to the Championship 4 when he overtook Martin Truex Jr. with 10 laps to go for his first victory in 30 starts at TMS.

Christopher Bell could be well on his way to a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in 2018, but it was the compassion he showed en route to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in 2017 that earned him the Sportsmanship Award. Calling it “a dream come true” to finally win at his home track of Texas Motor Speedway in June of 2017, Bell’s initial thoughts in Victory Lane were not about raising the trophy but the status of Timothy Peters, Austin Wayne Self and Johnny Sauter after they were involved in a violent white-flag wreck that forced the race to finish under caution.

Helio Castroneves chats along pit lane prior to qualifications for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. Photo by Chris Jones

For more information or to purchase tickets, call Speedway Children’s Charities at (817) 215-8421 or visit www.scctexas.org.

The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, traditionally held during Texas Motor Speedway’s spring NASCAR weekend, will revert to that tradition in March of 2019.

The NASCAR Playoffs tripleheader at Texas Motor Speedway features the Camping World Truck Series JAG Metals 350 on Friday, Nov. 2; Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on Saturday, Nov. 3; and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 4.

For more race information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call the speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500.

About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 30 years. In addition to working for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 15 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike also teaches English at Floresville High School.