2015 is Helio Castroneves’ 16th season at Team Penske.
Three wins and four poles at the Indy 500 are part of an overall
total of 29 victories and 41 pole positions in Indy cars.
newgarden works hard to put indycar into
other sports fans’ minds. But he has fun, too.
While Helio Castroneves isn’t big on
hobbies, just being Helio can turn into
a full-time gig, partly due to Indy 500
glory, partly due to his 2007 victory in
TV’s Dancing With The Stars (ABOVE,
with dance partner Julianne Hough).
“I don’t get recognized down here in
Ft. Lauderdale so much, but around
Indianapolis, it gets a bit crazy,” he
says with obvious relish, “and man,
every time I get on a plane, lady flight
attendants want to dance with me…”
On the subject of planes, Helio’s
teammate Juan Pablo Montoya is
known for operating some of the finest
remote control model aircraft money
can buy, while Chip Ganassi Racing’s
Tony Kanaan lives up to his Iron Man
image with his dedication to triathlons.
Will Power plays the drums to relax
between sim-racing sessions; Marco
Andretti and Graham Rahal collect and
exercise their various supercars (and
’bikes in Marco’s case); Josef Newgarden
works his backside off promoting the
sport through videos and appearances,
and James Hinchcliffe is…well, Mayor
That’s quite a mix of pursuits, but
all of them (even Hinch’s, probably)
demand precision, timing and talent,
just like in their day jobs.
in the paddock now [Helio is entering his
18th season of Indy car racing!], so I have
a lot of information to go through from
the past. But there’s still something to
learn from every session, every lap.
“So I may be thinking about a wing
setting I could try, or maybe a different
line through a corner. Racing is all I truly
understand, so it’s natural that it’s on my
mind all the time.”
Natural, too, that race tracks are also
his sanctuary – and that remains the case
even if he’s going through a down-cycle.
Four years ago, Castroneves had a
horrible season where nothing seemed to
go right – some incidents were his fault,
others were simply a case of wrong place,
wrong time – and he ended the year
11th in the championship with just a
couple of podium finishes to his name.
At the time, you had to wonder if even
IndyCar’s Mr. Happy might lose some of
his enthusiasm for the sport.
But Penske Racing president Tim Cindric
dismissed such a notion. “I don’t think
Helio has ever lost – or will ever lose –
that enthusiasm!” he said. “The way he is,
I’m thinking we’re going to have to push
him out of the car eventually, or he’ll be
trying to drive for us when he’s 60! No,
he’s never down for long.”
“What can I say? Tim knows me well!”
“I dOn’T ThInK helIO hAS eveR
lOST – OR wIll eveR lOSe – ThAT
en ThUSIASm…he’ll be TRyIng TO
dRIve FOR US when he’S 60!”
(LEFT) Helio never
forgets he lives his
dream and other
peoples’ dream, too.
(BELo W) Testing the
new chevrolet aero
kit at Barber