Helio Castroneves Wins Record-Tying Fourth Indianapolis 500

Make that a four for Helio Castroneves.

The 46-year-old Brazilian auto racing driver, who was considered too old to race full-time, has claimed his fourth Indianapolis 500 win.

Helio Castroneves

Castroneves has at long last joined the exclusive club in a popular victory for the old guys.

Then Castroneves scaled the Indianapolis Motor Speedway fence for his trademark victory celebration at the largest sporting event since the start of the pandemic.

Castroneves wasn’t done yet. At 46 and one of the oldest drivers in the field, he ran along the frontstretch of the speedway waving to the 135,000 fans in attendance. He pumped his arms in the air and waved to the ecstatic crowd, his explosion of emotional energy stopped every few feet by a flood of rivals who rushed onto the track to congratulate him.

“I was drawn by the positive energy of everyone. For a long time these people want to see a four-time winner,” Castroneves said. “I say that because they tell me. Every time we sign the autographs, they are like, ‘I’ve never seen a four-time winner. I want to see it.’ That’s what probably made me thank all of them because they made this place special.”

Almost every member of Team Penske rushed out to meet Castroneves, including former teammate Will Power, who saw the final scoring pylon and had no idea his longtime friend won.

“I was looking up and down, ‘Who is the 06?'” Power told Castroneves in a victory hug. “You’re a legend.”

Castroneves became the fourth-oldest winner in Indy 500 history, behind Al Unser (47, 1987), Bobby Unser (47, 1981) and Emerson Fittipaldi (46, 1993).

“It means a lot,” Castroneves said of the reception. “I’ve been in the sport for a long time, and I hope I have more friends than actual enemies. And even those who don’t like me, I hope they understand that this is a very difficult place to achieve. And that meant we did something very special.”

After more than two decades driving for Team Penske, winning three Indy 500 with them, Castroneves was eventually phased over to the sports car program, where he won the IMSA championship last season before Roger Penske shuttered the team and made the business decision to cut Castroneves loose.

Spider-Man insisted he was not done racing, and Michael Shank agreed. He hired Castroneves for the Indy 500 to complement the one-car Meyer Shank Racing team. Maybe Castroneves would have a shot to win, but he would also boost a team that needed some veteran leadership at one of the most challenging tracks in the world.

His last Indy 500 win was in 2009, and Castroneves has been trying since to join A.J. 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 guys don’t understand it! The fans, you give me energy,” Castroneves said.

Penske, now the owner of the speedway, embraced Castroneves in victory lane, while Foyt welcomed the new member to the four-time winners club.

“He deserved it, he worked hard to get it, and he finally got it,” said Foyt, who was celebrating the 60th anniversary of his first Indy 500 victory. “It wasn’t given to him, and when someone works as hard as he did, I’m glad it happened for him.”

Castroneves, who also won the 500 in 2001 and 2002, was part of the winning Rolex 24 Daytona sports car team in January, taking the prestigious sports car event for the first time. This was the only IndyCar race on Castroneves’ schedule this season.

“I’ve run two races this year and won two races, I’d say that’s pretty good,” said Castroneves, who noted this might be the year for aging veterans. “I don’t know if this is a good comparison, but Tom Brady won the Super Bowl and Phil Mickelson won the golf [PGA Championship], so here you go. The older guys are still kicking the younger guys’ butts.”

It was a stark contrast to the recent theme of young drivers taking over IndyCar, which now has six different winners through six races this season. Three of them have been first-time winners, and four are drivers age 24 or younger.

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 laps remaining and beat him by 0.4928 seconds for the victory.

“It hurts. It hurts a lot. I didn’t expect a second place to hurt that much,” said Palou, who took the series points lead.

Castroneves, who has three runner-up finishes at Indy, said Palou “had a great car and did everything he possibly could. Last year, he didn’t finish. This year he finished second, so that’s a big improvement.”

Juan Pablo Montoya to Race for Arrow McLaren SP at Next Year’s Indianapolis 500

Juan Pablo Montoya is heading back to the track…

The 45-year-old Colombian racing driver, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, will return to the iconic event next year driving for Arrow McLaren SP.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Montoya last raced the Indy 500 in 2017. He won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” as a rookie in 2000 and again 15 years later to give him a pair of victories in five career Indy 500 starts.

The announcement that he’ll drive a third entry for Arrow McLaren reunites Montoya with McLaren, the team for which he drove in Formula One in 2005 and 2006.

“I’m very excited to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for the Indianapolis 500,” Montoya said. “I have some great history with McLaren from my F1 days and I’m looking forward to making some more at next year’s Indianapolis 500.”

Montoya will be teammates with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, the full-time IndyCar drivers for Arrow McLaren. Montoya will be paired with veteran engineer Craig Hampson at Indy.

“Arrow McLaren SP is thrilled to have a driver of Juan’s caliber join the team for next year’s Indianapolis 500,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt. “His experience will elevate the entire team, including our young, talented lineup of Pato and Felix.”

Montoya has won in F1, CART, IndyCar, IMSA and NASCAR and has championships in CART and IMSA.

Helio Castroneves Returning to IndyCar for Six Races Next Season

Helio Castroneves is getting back into the race… 

The 45-year-old Brazilian race car driver will return to IndyCar for six races next season with Meyer Shank Racing.

Helio Castroneves

Shank will expand to a second car to accommodate Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner. The popular race car driver has driven for Roger Penske for 20 years but has been in sports cars the last three seasons. It doesn’t matter it is sports car or commercial vehicle you will understand how to tune a Diesel engine here. Penske still entered him in the last three Indy 500s.

The Indy 500 is included in the six-race deal for Castroneves. He will also race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, Long Beach, California, and the road course races at Indy, Portland and Laguna Seca.

“I know it’s only six races, however, one of them is extremely important for me, which is the Indy 500,” Castroneves said Tuesday.

Castroneves has said he wants to return to IndyCar, where he raced full-time from 1998 through 2017. Team Penske moved him to IMSA sports cars in 2018 but is closing that team after this weekend’s season finale.

Castroneves has driven Penske cars the last 20 seasons but raced for Arrow McLaren SP in October in the IndyCar doubleheader at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Shank is expanding to a second car behind last month’s partnership with Liberty Media Corp., which became a minority investor in the team. Castroneves will be the first true IndyCar teammate for Shank driver Jack Harvey, who’ll return for a second full season.

Shank has an alliance with Andretti Autosport but is primarily a single-car organization.

Shank and Harvey first paired for the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and built a six-race program for 2018. They ran 10 races in 2019 and expanded to a full schedule this year. Next season will be their second consecutive full season.

Shank will follow that same model for his new second car, with Castroneves helping to get the program running.

“The idea to start off with six races for the second IndyCar was another strategic plan,” said team owner Mike Shank. “As I’ve always said in the past, we will never bite off more than we can chew. It’s always been one of our goals to expand the IndyCar program, and this is the best way that we can start that.”

Fernando Alonso to Drive for McLaren at This Year’s Indy 500

Fernando Alonsois back in the race…

The 38-year-old Spanish race car driver will race at this year’s Indy 500 with McLaren‘s new IndyCar team.

Fernando Alonso

It’ll be Alonso’s third attempt to win the famous race, the final part of a ‘Triple Crown,’ which includes the Monaco Grand Prixand Le Mans 24 Hours. He has won both the other events on two occasions.

Were Alonso, who won the Formula One World Championshipin 2005 and 2006 for the Renaultteam, to achieve the feat, he would become just the second driver to do so, following Graham Hill‘s success in the 1960s.

Alonso drove for McLaren’s Formula Oneteam on two occasions, in 2007 and an infamously uncompetitive stint between 2015 and 2018. He stepped away from F1at the end of the latter spell and is yet to return.

“I am a racer and the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world,” Alonso said.

“I have maximum respect for the race and everyone who competes in it, and all I want is to race against them and give my best.”

Alonso attempted to win the Indy 500 with a poorly-managed McLaren entry last year. A catalogue of errors culminated in the two-time F1 champion failing to qualify for the event.

He fared better on his debut in the race in 2017, qualifying fifth and leading a chunk of the race until an engine issue ended his race prematurely.

McLaren has stepped up its involvement in the series, entering a full-time outfit called SP Arrow McLaren for 2020. Alonso will partner the team’s full-time drivers, Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew, for the event.

Alonso will race the team’s Chevrolet-powered car, having been blocked in his attempts to race for aHondaoutfit. 

Alonso was scathingly critical of the Japanese manufacturer during his final stint at McLaren and it has since decided he will never race one of their cars — he since won the Le Mans 24 Hours and World Endurance Championshipwith Toyota, a Honda rival.

Hernandez: First Latina to Win ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”

She may be a teenager, but Laurie Hernandez is already dancing royalty…

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, an Olympic gold and silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Games, has been crowned the champion of the 23rd season of ABC‘s Dancing with the Stars.

Laurie Hernandez

Hernandez was crowned the belle of the ballroom alongside her dance partner Val Chmerkovskiy in Tuesday night’s finale, which also featured former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe.

Hinchcliffe was the runner-up as Johnson finished third.

At just 16 years old, Hernandez is the youngest champion in the show’s history. She’s also the first Latina to take home the coveted mirrorball trophy, and only third Hispanic competitor to claim the title in the show’s 23-season run. Brazilian IndyCar racer Helio Castroneves won DTWS in Season 5, while El Salvadoran-American actor J.R. Martinez, a former U.S. Army soldier, won the title in Season 13.

Hernandez joins Shawn Johnson as Olympic gold medalist gymnasts that have also won a season of Dancing with the Stars. Fellow gymnasts and Olympic champions Nastia Liukin and Aly Raisman have fourth place finishes on their DTWS resumes.

Other previous Olympians to win Dancing with the Stars include Apolo Ohno, Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis.

Montoya Wins IndyCar Series Race at Pocono Raceway

Juan Pablo Montoya is back at the top of the podium in the IndyCar Series.

The 38-year-old Colombian racing driver won the IndyCar race Sunday at Pocono Raceway, the highlight of a triumphant return to open-wheel racing after seven years in NASCAR.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Montoya won for the first time in the CART/IndyCar Series since 2000 and had his first major victory since he won a road-course race at Watkins Glen in NASCAR in 2010.

Helio Castroneves was second to make it a 1-2 finish Sunday for Team Penske. With double points awarded in the 500-mile races, Castroneves moved into a tie for the points lead with Team Penske teammate Will Power.

Carlos Munoz, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon completed the top five.

Montoya, who won from the pole, took the lead for good when Tony Kanaanwas forced to pit for fuel with four laps left. Montoya took it from there and continued to stamp himself a player in the championship hunt. He moved to fourth in the standings.

“As soon as we signed him, I knew he would be an asset for us, and a headache,” Castroneves said.

Montoya, the 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500, winner took the checkered flag to the sight of hundreds of Colombian fans waving the flag and cheering him on.

It was just the kind of scene he pictured when he decided to head home to open wheel. Montoya wanted a competitive ride again after lackluster results driving for Chip Ganassi in NASCAR. He knew his open-wheel return would have a learning curve: Montoya last ran in CART in 2000, then left Formula One midway through the 2006 season for NASCAR.

After only two top 10s in his first seven starts, Montoya reeled off a third, second and seventh in his past three. Now, he has the win needed to erase any lingering doubts that has move back to open wheel was the right one.

Muñoz Joins Andretti Autosport’s IndyCar Lineup

Carlos Muñoz is joining forces with the famous Andretti racing family.

The 21-year-old Colombian professional racecar driver has joined Andretti Autosport’s IndyCar lineup next season.

Carlos Muñoz

Muñoz will join Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay on the four-car team.

Andretti said sponsorship for Muñoz will be announced at a later date.

Muñoz made his IndyCar debut in the 2013 Indianapolis 500. He started from the front row and finished second.

He was a replacement driver for injured Ryan Briscoe at Toronto in July and finished fourth. He also filled in last minute for E.J. Viso in the season finale at Fontana, where he crashed and finished 23rd.

Muñoz won four Indy Lights races in 2013 and five poles driving for Andretti.