Motorsport: Motor racing-Indy 500 captivated by Castroneves’s drive-for-five

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Having joined the Indianapolis 500’s most unique membership of four-time champions final 12 months, Helio Castroneves will attempt to transfer right into a league of his personal on Sunday by changing into the primary to win the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on 5 events.

Castroneves exploded onto the IndyAutomobile scene by profitable the 500 on his first two tries in 2001 and 2002. He accomplished the hat-trick in 2009.

But it took 12 years to bag quantity 4 and at 46-years-old the window is closing for the charismatic Brazilian to make Brickyard historical past.

“I need it rather a lot. I need to do one thing no one ever did,” mentioned Castroneves, who joined AJ Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser as a four-time winner. “I’ve tied the document, now it might be phenomenal to do one thing no one has ever achieved.

“Am I going to combat for it? Absolutely.

“Is it going to occur, we’re going to see on Sunday.

“I dream about it. I give it some thought..”

While it’s good to dream, the truth is Castroneves will begin twenty seventh – close to the again of the 33-car discipline in a automotive that has not proven it’s able to operating up entrance.


Perhaps the largest roadblock in his drive-for-five is a powerhouse Chip Ganassi Racing outfit which could have 5 drivers close to the entrance led by Scott Dixon, snatching pole with a document velocity of 234 mph.

The ‘Iceman’ additionally began from pole in 2008 when he claimed his solely Indy 500 win.

Starting alongside the New Zealander can be his younger Spanish workforce mate Alex Palou, runner-up finally 12 months’s 500, whereas Row Two could have two extra Ganassi workers in Swede Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian Tony Kanaan.

Not far again in row 4 is Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR Cup champion seen as a darkish horse choose regardless of making his Indy 500 debut.

“I feel we have now a great mixture of some veterans and likewise some youthful guys,” mentioned Dixon, a six-time IndyAutomobile champion who sits third on the all-time win listing with 51.

“The workforce Chip and all people has put collectively may be very unselfish but additionally have the frequent objective to only need to win.

“That’s arduous to come back by and preserve that as a good keel. Right now might be is without doubt one of the occasions the place I’ve seen the entire workforce all smiling.

“That’s arduous to realize with two or three automobiles, it is troublesome with 5 – actually powerful.”


IndyAutomobile has seen a pack of hard-charging newcomers emerge over the past two seasons however in the case of the Indy 500 the previous guard has been much less prepared to cross the torch.

Palou, at 25-years-old is the reigning drivers champion whereas Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward and Andretti Autosports’s Colton Herta all posted a number of wins final season and have attracted curiosity from Formula One.

But on the infamous Brickyard expertise, bravery and smarts rely and there can be loads of it on Sunday’s grid.

Polesitter Dixon is 41 whereas workforce mate Johnson is 46 as is Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya. Kanaan and Castroneves are 47.

Dixon, Kanaan, Montoya and Castroneves all have no less than one Indy 500 victory on their resumes whereas Johnson has received the Daytona 500 twice.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean, 36, brings a unique sort of expertise to his first Indy 500 having made 179 Formula One begins earlier than transferring to IndyAutomobile.

“I really feel expertise is a bonus,” mentioned Castroneves. “Still going to be very troublesome however I really feel we are able to do it.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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