that has helped me get better, more
synchronized in my driving.
“of course, Jonathan [diuguid, race
engineer] and ron [ruzewski, Penske’s
engineering head] are constantly giving
me feedback to think about, too. and
now the team is up to four cars, there’s
going to be even more data to go
through. That means more thinking
about it, not switching off, but i think it’s
paid off in my results.
“and there’s more to come, my friend,”
he smiles, “much more to come…”
“The way i look at it is that even if you’re
having a bad day or a bad weekend, we
indycar drivers are very privileged.
When you look up into the grandstand,
i guarantee someone there is thinking,
‘These guys are lucky.’ They’re not
thinking about where you’re starting on
the grid or where you finish in the race;
they’re wanting to be in your position.
double-file restarts, and me and dario
[Franchitti] were the only right-foot brakers.
i had a real problem. suddenly, my timing
was difficult and we were often close to
other cars, so there were some incidents.
“anyway, the next year, with the new
car, i started left-foot braking after 15
years of using my right. starting all over
again, i had to practice and think about
it, practice and think about it, all the
time. i knew i had to do it: i was a very
experienced racecar driver, but it was
time to update my style. and now i feel
“i was a very experienced
racecar driver, but it was time
to update my style. and that
has helped me get better”
“and think of all the racecar drivers
who are watching, maybe people who
tried to get into indycar and didn’t make
it. They’ll see us as lucky, too. so i think i
should be feeling joy. sure, we’re all
competitive and we all want to win. But
just to have the opportunity to try is very
special. That’s why, when you see me
smiling and joking in the paddock, i’m not
putting it on. That’s me, that’s how i feel.
“actually, you mentioned 2011 – that’s a
good example of how i must keep thinking.
That was the year indycar brought in
The last driver to join
the four-time Indy
500 winner club is
at Team Penske, Rick
Mears, and that
happened 24 years ago.
the club helio
wants to join
Won twice in
roadsters and twice in
rear-engined cars, the
last (1977) driving
for his own team.
The only one of the
four-timers to score
(1970 and ’71), Al’s
also the oldest Indy
winner at 47 in 1987.
Four wins between
1979 and 1991, all
with Team Penske,
and Rick holds the
outright record for
Indy poles, with six.
(BELOW RIGH T) Helio
and his Team Penske
crew celebrate victory
in Detroit last season
with their trademark
fence climb. (RIGH T)
We can think of worse
places to call home...