Troy Castaneda could have pouted. He could have donated his helmet and fire suit to a needy driver and started a new chapter in his life.
Castaneda's racing career, which started with karting championships, stalled and seemed all but dead last year when the 23-year-old from Rocklin didn't mesh with Bryan Herta Autosport's Indy Lights team.
But he kept his racing equipment, kept his head up and kept beating the bushes for another ride. Castaneda tested Tuesday with Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports, driving one of their Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Cars at Shannonville Motorport Park, near Toronto. Depending on how much money Castaneda can raise, he may drive Saturday and Sunday in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada race at Trois-Rivieres in Quebec.
As is often the case in auto racing, it all comes down to money. Many race teams will have a premier car with a top-flight driver and crew, then basically rent out another car and crew to make money. If Castaneda can find enough sponsorship dollars and self-funding by this weekend he'll likely get the ride in Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports' third car and the chance to show what he can do for a team that's in second place in the standings with two events left this season.
"Europe didn't work out and Indy Lights didn't work out, but I've tried to stay positive and to stay ready both mentally and physically," Castaneda said by phone after completing the testing session. "The team evaluated me and I evaluated the car and the team, as well. I think I did well. We'll have to see about the money."
Castaneda works as a model and had a photo shoot in San Francisco before taking a red-eye flight to Toronto for the testing session. He said a Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports team member helped him with flight expenses, but the cost of the testing session, hotel and food are on his dime.
"I'm always looking for sponsors," Castaneda said. "This is an expensive sport, but it's one I love. It's what I'm meant to do."
Locals in Knoxville
Grass Valley native Brad Sweet took second in the A Main event Wednesday, the first of four nights of racing at the 53rd Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals.
Points are accumulated during qualifying and racing throughout the event. If you win the Knoxville Nationals, as World of Outlaws driver Donny Schatz did last year, you get a large chunk of the $1 million purse and earn the title as the best of the best.
Elk Grove's Paul McMahan had the fastest time (15.210) in qualifying over the half-mile track and finished eighth in the A Main.
Other locals competing include Chico's Jonathan Allard, Elk Grove's Kyle Larson and Auburn's Cole Wood. None of those three made it into the A Main Wednesday.
Go to www.knoxvilleraceway.com for more information.
Annual Fox Hunt
The famous Fox Hunt drag races return today at the Sacramento Raceway, with the bulk of racing Saturday. Classes include A through E Gas Funny cars and Dragsters, motorcycles, Pro Comp and jet cars.
Jeff Atamian will close the event Saturday at 9:30 p.m. with his famous jet car burndown.
Go to www.sacramentoraceway.com for more information.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at email@example.com.