Helio Castroneves seeks historic fifth Indianapolis 500 victory

INDIANAPOLIS — Helio Castroneves lost his first job battle in the parking lot of Global Prep Academy, a bilingual school less than 10 minutes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He had been to the school before, knew he was supposed to park in a back alley, and knew he would lead passenger Romain Grosjean through the cafeteria door into their exterior. But the carpool line was blocked, so Castroneves slowed his bronze Acura through the school parking lot and bypassed traffic.

A speeding hatchback suddenly flashed past Castro Neves outside him and slammed into the empty parking space in front of him.

“Someone is in a hurry,” Castroneves said with a smile. “Pass only counts on Sundays.”

This Sunday, Castro Neves will have to pass a lot of cars as he tries to become the first five-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.Brazilian Join AJ Foyt, Al Unser and mentor Rick Mears as the only four-time winner of “The Greatest Spectre in Motorsport” last May In a raucous surprise, a The most enthusiastic climbing celebration in competition history.

Between Mears’ fourth Indy 500 win, it took Castroneves 30 years to join the club. Mills wished he could stay a little longer.

“I said, ‘You better be careful about what you want. If you win that fifth game, we’ll kick you out of the club and you’re on your own. There’s no one to hang out with. So be careful. ,'” Mills said.

Sorry, friends: Castro Neves is planning to race his fifth BorgWarner this weekend. This will be his 22nd start at the Indy 500, more than any other driver in the field, and last year’s experience proved invaluable as Castroneves’ predicted traffic patterns would take advantage of overlapping cars wake to stop Alex Palau from winning.

He returned for the second time with the Meyer Shank Racing team, which gave Castroneves another chance to race in Indianapolis after his 20-year career with the Penske team. Last year’s Indy 500 victory — Michael Shank’s first IndyCar victory — elevates the cycling program to a team that looks set to challenge for victory at every race.

It helped MSR expand and sign another Indianapolis 500 champion, Castroneves’ Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, and Castroneves’ exuberant personality raised the values ​​of everyone in the organization.

“There’s an immortal spirit within him that drives him to do it, but he’s not done,” team founder Michael Shank told The Associated Press. “It wasn’t (fake) when he jumped out of that motorhome. That’s how he felt. He was so excited to start the day. We want our team to be tied with him in history. The team that finishes fifth, if it doesn’t make it this year, then we’ll do it again.”

Castroneves currently has Shank on a one-year deal, and the team hopes to find a way to extend it.

Castroneves turned 47 earlier this month and shows no signs of slowing down. He took students through a stop at his school for aerobics and talked about the importance of what was in front of him at Indy.

“There is an opportunity to make history, and I want people to understand how important it is,” Castroneves said. “People in Indianapolis know because they know what the Indy 500 means. I don’t think the rest of the racing world knows where I am, and I’m here to show them how important this piece of history is.”

Shank puts Castroneves on the same level as Tom Brady, who was 43 when he won his seventh Super Bowl.

“Outstanding people never die; some people are born to exceed all expectations,” Shank told The Associated Press. “At some point now, the vision will give up, right? That’s it, but it seems to me that Helio could go four or five more times without being affected too much by age.”

Castroneves fell short of the qualifying results he hoped, starting 27th on Sunday, with his goal of halving the deficit and finishing in the top 12 halfway through.

“It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible,” Castroneves said.

He is the second-oldest driver in the field, five months younger than fellow Brazilian Tony Canan. Castroneves recalled that the conversation here a year ago focused on phasing out veterans at the changing of the guard in IndyCar.

In Indy, though, age doesn’t matter.

“I’m sure more people understand this place, people talk about age, which was the theme of all the younger generations coming to win the game last year,” Castroneves said. “Last year’s win showed that this place is not about age, it’s not about bravery. It’s about having experience and using it at the right time. I feel like after my win last year, people now look at people with experience here the way they might look It came very differently.”

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