Early Christmas for James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves

Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe received an early Christmas present Friday when they were added to the illustrious list of racers named to compete in the 2017 Race Of Champions at Marlins Park in Miami. Castroneves and Hinchcliffe join fellow INDYCAR drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Juan Montoya and Alexander Rossi in the elite competition Jan. 21-22 pitting drivers from around the world who normally compete in differing disciplines. Between them, the six INDYCAR drivers boast eight Indianapolis 500 triumphs, three Indy car season championships and 82 race victories.
Among the drivers from other disciplines also named to compete are Formula One’s Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel, Nascar brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch, rallycross stars Travis Pastrana and Scott Speed and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen. All will compete in identical vehicles on the Race Of Champions temporary track constructed inside the stadium where Miami’s major league baseball team normally plays.
The Race Of Champions consists of individual racing and a team competition representing home nations. Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 2007 “Dancing with the Stars” champion from Brazil, will be part of Team Latin America while Hinchcliffe, the 2016 Indy 500 polesitter and recent runner-up on “Dancing with the Stars,” will be part of Team North America. Each will be paired with an “unknown” driver determined through the newly announced ROC Factor social media vote.
“The cool thing about Race Of Champions is that every driver has a chance, no matter what they’re used to racing,” Castroneves told NBCSports.com. “The variety of cars means there’s something suited to everyone, regardless of whether they’re from rallying, INDYCAR or Nascar. So it really is all about the talent.”
Along with Hunter-Reay, Kanaan and Montoya, Castroneves is a South Florida resident and will serve as a pseudo-host for the other drivers. Hinchcliffe, from Canada, is just pumped to be a part of it. “I’m really excited about the chance to be a part of this year’s ROC,” Hinchcliffe told NBCSports.com. “I’ve watched this event for years and always wanted to be a part of it, so it’s a bit of an early Christmas present getting the call. All these incredible drivers from so many disciplines in one place, all the different cars to try, and we still have to vote for my teammate! It’s going to be a blast!”