Indy 500: Castroneves becomes quadruple champion
INDIANAPOLIS – Finally, Helio Castroneves joined the exclusive four-time Indianapolis 500 club on Sunday.
Next, Spiderman scaled the fence at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his celebration of winning the biggest sporting event since the start of the pandemic.
Castroneves was not yet finished. At 46 and one of the oldest drivers in the peloton, he sprinted along the front stretch of the speedway, greeting the 135,000 fans in attendance. He was interrupted during his victory jog by several drivers and most of Team Penske, the organization he spent more than two decades with and won three Indy 500s.
But it was time for Roger Penske to part ways with Castroneves, who still felt he still had a long way to go. Michael Shank chose him for a partial schedule that included the Indy 500 and a shot for Castroneves to add to his heritage on the speedway.
His last Indy 500 victory was in 2009, and Castroneves has since tried to join AJ Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears, his former mentor at Team Penske, as the only four-time winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. “Mears was the last driver to join the club in 1991.
“I love Indianapolis! You don’t understand it! Fans, you give me energy, ”Castroneves said.
Castroneves was also part of the winning Rolex 24 Daytona sports car team in January, taking on the prestigious sports car event for the first time.
“I ran two races this year and won two races, I would say it’s pretty good,” said Castroneves, who noted that Tom Brady won the Super Bowl this year and that Phil Mickelson, 50, has won the PGA Championship last. week.
It was a stark contrast to the recent theme of young drivers taking control of IndyCar, which now has six different winners across six races this season. Three of them were first-time winners and four are drivers aged 24 or under.
Castroneves found himself in a closing duel with one of the young stars, 24-year-old Spaniard Alex Palou, but he passed Palou for good with two rounds remaining and beat him by 0.4928 second.
Former Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, winner of the 2019 Indy, was third, followed by 21-year-old budding IndyCar star Pato O’Ward.
A year ago, no fans were allowed for the race which was delayed from May to August. This year the celebrities were back and the fans were everywhere and they were treated to a victory by one of the most popular drivers in Indy 500 history.
This story will be updated.
Sports on TV: Sunday May 30, 2021