200th start for Castroneves, heated tempers expected
Helio Castroneves’ career has seen many milestones, and he will be adding to the list when he appears in the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 tomorrow at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The race will represent the 200th career start in IndyCar with the red and black team colors of Team Penske for the native of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“It’s usual for you to find the best teams, but it’s unusual for you to stay with one team for a long time, because of rotation or you are trying to find something better or a team ends up doing something different,” said Castroneves, who has appeared in more IndyCar races for Team Penske than any other driver. “It’s an honor to be here so many years and so many races, and I’m hoping for 200 more.”
Castroneves burst onto the scene in 2001 with a narrow victory in the Indianapolis 500 over then-Team Penske teammate Gil de Ferran. The following year, Castroneves won Indy 500 again to become the first back-to-back winner since Al Unser (1970-71). For Team Penske, the 2002 Indy win was its 12th.
All those years later, Castroneves, who is ninth in the IZOD IndyCar Series points standings entering the race this weekend, is still a member of the team.
“I think trust,” Castroneves said of his long-standing relationship. “I trust Roger (Penske) and I believe they trust me. We’ve been through a lot together, literally.”
With a successful run down the stretch, Castroneves could crack some other milestones this season. If he takes a checkered flag, it will mark the 12th consecutive season he’s recorded a victory. With a pole win, he could also run his IZOD IndyCar Series record to 10 consecutive seasons in that category.
Castroneves showed he can have a second career with his win on “Dancing with the Stars,” but he’s said he’ll stick to the fast speeds on the track for now.
“It’s probably the one and only thing that I know how to do well, apart from dancing,” Castroneves said jokingly of his driving skills. “But that’s over. At this point I just want to be behind the wheel because that’s where I feel most comfortable.”
With the limited maneuverability that could be on display when the potential 27 cars take to the “Magic Mile,” many observers think that there will be room for some potential hostile situations on the track. Former IndyCar driver Scott Goodyear is among the group.
Goodyear, who finished second to Tony Stewart the last time an IndyCar race was held at NHMS in 1998, said he expects to see some bumping and grinding — and maybe a hot temper or two — over the weekend.
“This is not like Iowa or maybe even Milwaukee where it’s a bit more of a rounded turn. This is more of a paper clip,” Goodyear said. “You’ve got to drive it in hard and what that does is it creates confrontational turns. When I say that, it’s like somebody is going to have to get their nose into the side of somebody and someone is going to want to chop them down.
“I would suspect there would be some conflict here. I’m assuming we will see that.” Boston Herald