Monday, May 27, 2024

Andre Castro making Xfinity debut at Chicago

After last appearing at a NASCAR Xfinity Series race weekend in April, Jesse Iwuji Motorsports will return in July at the Chicago Street Race with Andre Castro, a graduate of the College of the University of Chicago and open-wheel driver. He will race the #34 Chevrolet Camaro.

Castro, who graduated in 2022, won the Team USA Scholarship the year before which allowed him to complete overseas in the Formula Ford Festival, where he finished third in the Grand Final.

While much of his career has been in open-wheel racing, he is no stranger to stock cars. In 2019, Castro raced in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Elite 2 (now EuroNASCAR 2) division and finished eighteenth in points with four podiums including three runner-ups. While he only entered the first four races in 2020, notching a fourth in his last start at Zolder, he helped give DF1 Racing an early advantage during the COVID-impacted season by winning the EuroNASCAR Esports Series title to provide a forty-point boost in the real-life team championship.

Since earning the Scholarship, Castro focused almost exclusively on the open-wheel ladder by racing in the USF2000 National Championship and USF Juniors. In the latter’s inaugural season in 2022, he placed fifth in the standings with a best finish of second at Barber. Castro graduated to USF2000 for 2023, but only ran the season opener in St. Petersburg before being sidelined by a lack of funding.

In May, the Colombian-American was named one of ten candidates for the 2024/25 IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship.

Jesse Iwuji Motorsports’ maiden season in 2022 ended with a twenty-ninth in owner points as their namesake team owner split the #34 with Kaz Grala, Jesse Little, and Kyle Weatherman; Weatherman scored their first top ten at Loudon in eighth. For 2023, the car has only shown up to Daytona and Talladega with Iwuji, finishing thirtieth at the former and failing to qualify for the latter.

If there are more than thirty-eight entries at Chicago, Castro will need to make the race on time as the #34’s two entries means it is too low in owner points to be guaranteed a spot. The race is scheduled for 1 July.