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Andre Castro earned four podium finishes as a NASCAR Whelen Series rookie in 2019, including a runner-up finish at Spain's Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. (NASCAR Whelen Euro Series)

Balancing Books & Racing: Andre Castro On Fast Track

It may be faster to list what Andre Castro cannot do.

The 21-year-old Columbian-American majors in Business-Economics at the University of Chicago. He balances academics with a budding acting career.

And he’s also a full-time driver in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

“My goal is to get better and better at whatever discipline I’m devoted to,” Castro said.

And he’s also translated that success on the asphalt to the virtual racing world.

Castro drove to a third-place finish in last Monday night’s inaugural NASCAR Roots iRacing Series event, piloting a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car to a podium finish at the virtual New Smyrna Speedway. He followed up with the win in the opening roung of the EuroNASCAR iRacing event at the Daytona road course Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve put about eight years into iRacing,” says Castro. “It has been one of my many hobbies growing up. The past month or so I have obviously been more active but it’s been fun to help pass time.”

The NASCAR Roots iRacing Series will return to the track this Monday at Southern National Raceway Park, a .4-mile banked oval located just outside of Kenly, North Carolina. The racing will be streamed live on NASCAR Roots’ Twitter and Facebook, beginning with the heat races at 7 p.m. ET.

While sim racing isn’t a complete substitute for being on the race track, it did prove a simpler commuting decision for Castro than balancing books with his rookie season in NASCAR’s European stock car series.

“I did take a semester off to race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series last year and it was definitely the right option,” Castro said. “Traveling between Chicago and Europe for several weeks would’ve been too much!”

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Castro was born and raised in New York City, and his Colombian parents consistently kept racing on the television rooting for fellow countryman Juan Pablo Montoya throughout his career.

“Watching him race was my introduction to motorsports,” said Castro. “I began karting around the same time as he moved to NASCAR.”

He began karting at the age of 7 and it quickly turned into a passion, by age 13 he was competing against the best in the United States and winning enough to garner bigger opportunities.

The opportunity was the prestigious Skip Barber Driving School. The school has hosted motorsports legends before their stardom and Castro hoped to follow in those big footsteps. He excelled at the school and earned a chance to compete in various open wheel series in 2017 and 2018.

In 2019, Castro was selected to compete in the NASCAR Euro Series through the series’ recruitment program that placed him in a car for the full season. He earned five top fives competing against like likes of EuroNASCAR 2 champion Lasse Sorensen and American Myatt Snider.

He won the pole position for the opening round at Brand Hatch Circuit in England last June.

RELATED: AndreCastroRacing.com | Andre Castro Career Stats on Racing-Reference

More importantly, he earned a return ticket in the offseason to race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series this year.

“My ultimate goal is to become a professional paid racing driver,” says Castro. “Wherever that may be, but I’m excited to begin climbing the NASCAR ladder, starting with the Whelen Euro Series, and I’m very much hoping to get an opportunity to race in one of the NASCAR series in the United States.”