Why oh why must some we be subjected to this kind of hackery mere days before the biggest event in open-wheel racing?
Indy champ Helio Castroneves ponders move to NASCAR
Now before you all go looking for some strong rope and a chair to put yourself out of this N-Word misery, take a moment and forget whatever this muckraking reporter says in the rest of this article and focus solely on Helio’s words as quoted.
"I won't deny that I'm thinking about it…"
"It would be great to one day try the [stock] cars. But at this point I'm focusing on Indy cars and winning the Indianapolis 500 again."
“It depends on the opportunity.”
"It's all about the timing and I'm not sure if the timing is right."
"We're going to talk after Indy."
"A good driver is going to be a good driver."
"I think it would be a good reception."
We all know there are two bona fide celebrities in the IndyCar series right now and Castroneves is one of them. Losing him to any other form of racing at this pivotal time in the sports history would be catastrophic, and since he owns a stock car team in Brazil it’s not implausible to think he might be interested in driving them here in North America. Helio’s a bright enough guy to know that if the right offer comes along in any form of racing it has to be considered, but he also sees how difficult any transition would be.
You may see something different in this, but I don’t see anything beyond a guy keeping his options open. There’s no enthusiastic talk of more races or being on TV more or of needing a new challenge. No, all I see is a driver trying to give short but polite answers to a reporter, and a reporter trying to write a story that doesn’t yet exist.
Judging from the short quotes, I’m guessing the actual transcript looks something like this.
Peltz: “Hey Helio, got a moment?”
Helio: “Sure, Jim.”
Peltz: “How’s the new teammate compared to Sam?”
Helio: “Ryan? Oh, he’s great. He keeps crashing and making me look good, haha! Wait, don’t print that.”
Peltz: “No problem. You think Sam is going to be OK racing stock cars?”
Helio: “Oh sure. Sam’s a good guy and he’s going to do fine no matter what he’s racing. A good driver is going to be a good driver."
Peltz: “So what’s the latest on your plans for the N-Word?”
Helio: “Uh, haha, you’re a funny guy.”
Peltz: “Well you’ve thought about driving stock cars, right?”
Helio: “Well I won't deny that I'm thinking about it. I mean, it would be great to one day try the big ugly cars, haha. But at this point I'm focusing on Indy cars and winning the Indianapolis 500 again. And I’m still trying to win my first series championship as well.”
Peltz: “Have you talked to Roger Penske about a plan similar to Sam’s?”
Helio: “Uh, well I talk to Roger all the time. I mean, it’s come up but you know I’m still racing IndyCars. We’ve talked about it in the past and I’m sure we're going to talk after Indy, but right now we’re focused on Indy."
Peltz: “But your contract is up this year right? What if Rick Hendrick or Joe Gibbs called you?”
Helio: “Yeah, right! I suppose it depends on the opportunity. I mean those are great teams, but I’d really like to win the series for Roger before I think about going anywhere else. It’s the one thing I haven’t done yet. After that if I make any move, well, it's all about the timing and I'm not sure if the timing is right."
Peltz: “You think you’d be accepted in stock cars?”
Helio: “What’s with all the stock car questions, Jim? Yeah, I think it would be a good reception. Look, I gotta run. Don’t forget to watch the Indy 500 this weekend. It’s fun-tastic!”
Peltz: “Sure thing, Helio. Thanks!”
UPDATE: As noted in the comments, Helio is just as shocked as we are.
"It's kind of strange to print a statement like that," said Castroneves, who will start fourth in Sunday's 92nd running of the Indy 500. "I did not understand much. I found my English is apparently getting worst. [They] definitely took it out of context."
"They asked me questions about thinking about NASCAR," the 33-year-old Castroneves said. "Every driver [is] thinking about NASCAR or new challenges, let's put it this way. But it depends on the opportunity, and my opportunity right now is great being here in IndyCar, especially with the merger."
"The future, I don't know what's going to happen. But, right now, the only thing I can say is I'm very much committed to my team. I love where I'm at and, hopefully, we can continue."
(MORE from ESPN.com)