Helio Castroneves joined the exclusive club of four-time Indianapolis 500 winners this past weekend with a victory Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Castroneves joins A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991) as four-time winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The Brazilian’s previous victories came in 2001, 2002 and 2009, all as a full-time driver with Team Penske.
However, this one was different. Castroneves drove the No. 06 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda of Meyer Shank Racing to the team’s first Indy win and first NTT IndyCar Series victory. Castroneves, 46, also became the fourth-oldest winner in “500” history in his first IndyCar start of the season, as he is scheduled to run only a partial schedule this year.
“It’s not the end; it’s the beginning,” Castroneves said. “I don’t know if it’s a good comparison, but Tom Brady won a Super Bowl, Phil (Mickelson) won the PGA, and now here you go. The old guys still got it, kicking the young guys’ butts. We’re teaching them a lesson.
“What a great team effort. Everyone was in sync. We didn’t make any mistakes. No. 4 – what a moment. I’m just so honored to be a part of this amazing group with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears. This is absolutely a dream come true.”
Castroneves, who started eighth, finished a stirring duel with 24-year-old Spaniard Alex Palou over the closing laps by passing Palou with a daring outside move in Turn 1 on Lap 199. He held off Palou’s No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to win by .4928 of a second.
2019 Indy winner Simon Pagenaud finished third in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, .5626 of a second behind Castroneves. Pato O’Ward was fourth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, while Ed Carpenter rounded out the top five in the No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet.
The next NTT IndyCar Series races are the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit doubleheader, the headline races of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on June 12-13 on Belle Isle in Detroit.