Sports Castroneves happily joins elite club of 4-time Indy winners

23:56  21 july  2021
23:56  21 july  2021 Source:   msn.com

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In winning, Castroneves joins 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! Brazilian Helio Castroneves claimed an elusive record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory on Sunday, immediately setting his sights on a historic fifth. In more than a century of racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), only three drivers - A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears - had previously won the

Castroneves joins A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991) in the elite club of four - time Indy 500 winners . At 46 years old, Castroneves also became the fourth-oldest driver to win the Indy 500. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway welcomed a crowd of 135,000 people — 40 percent capacity — to the race. The 105th Indy 500 became the world's largest gathering in sports since the coronavirus shut down practically all events worldwide last spring, an IndyCar Series news release said. Thirty-three cars competed in the

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Helio Castroneves is taking his sweet time getting his mind around the spoils of winning his fourth Indianapolis 500.

a group of people standing in front of a building © Provided by The Canadian Press

Such as pouring red-hot liquid bronze into a mold for two bricks chiseled with his name, one of which will be placed on hallowed ground: the Yard of Bricks start/finish line of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Or the chance to talk and laugh with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, the only other drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times.

For Castroneves, that carried special meaning beyond the brotherhood of racing.

The Brazilian driver’s fourth Indy 500 victory two months ago took 12 years to achieve, and the reality of being mentioned alongside the drivers he idolizes still has him pinching himself.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Perhaps it was a little premature to run Helio Castroneves off so soon. Age wasn't on his side, of course, and time was running out to join that elite club of four - time Indianapolis 500 winners . But after a 46-year-old schools one of the hot young stars in the closing He proved that Sunday with a masterful drive at Indianapolis that put Castroneves into the exclusive club of four - time winners , which last welcomed a new member 30 years ago. The Brazilian won his third Indy 500 in 2009 and has tried for 12 years to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the

Helio Castroneves has become a four - time Indianapolis 500 winner in an incredible finish to the 105th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. In doing so, the Brazilian becomes the first non-American four - time winner of the famed 200-lapper at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 46-year-old joins an elite club including A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Snr., and Rick Mears on four wins. It’s the first time Meyer Shank Racing has won the Indianapolis 500 in only their fifth attempt. After the final sequence of pit stops, Alex Palou (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing), Castroneves , Pato O’Ward (#5 Arrow McLaren

“Every time I’m with them, it blows my mind away," said Castroneves, 46. "They helped me to set goals and I really pushed for it, and (Tuesday) I joined their club. I asked them if there is any membership fee or something like that. They said they will (add one) if I win five.”

It had been 30 years since the club added a member and that was Mears. He, Foyt and Unser happily welcomed Castroneves into the fold and The Associated Press was present for the event this week at the famed speedway.

The foursome chatted at a table in the pagoda before they flashed their Indy 500 rings and smiled during a group photo with the imposing Borg-Warner Trophy on the Brickyard.

Roger Penske, the motorsports titan who earned nearly half his record 18 Indy 500 wins with Unser, Mears and Castroneves in particular, also praised Castroneves even though win No. 4 came with Meyer Shank Racing a year after a long tenure with Team Penske.

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Castroneves , 46, is the fourth driver to win the famous race four time , joining racing legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears in the elite club . Castroneves dueled rising Indycar star Alex Palou for much of the closing stages of the race, overtaking Palou on the penultimate lap and holding him It has been a long time coming for Castroneves , who entered the race with more Indy 500 starts than any other racer in the field — this is his 21st 500 — but had not won the race since 2009. While he has still competed in the big race, he stepped away from full-time racing in the Indycar circuit to focus his

Is Helio Castroneves the oldest Indy 500 winner ? No. He earned his fourth Indy 500 win at age 46. Al Unser (1987) and Bobby Unser ('81)both won at age 47. Al Unser just less than a week from his 48th birthday. Castroneves made it back-to-back race wins in his second start in 2002. He was narrowly leading Paul Tracy on the 199th lap when an accident behind them brought out a race-ending caution. However, you will never convince Tracy that he was trailing Castroneves at the time the caution fell.

“He’s part of the family,” the Captain said via an online feed. “To see him win his fourth race, it was tremendous. ... I couldn’t be prouder.”

Foyt, Mears and Unser reflected on their Indy conquests over dinner Monday night before Castroneves arrived. They continued reminiscing at the table, emphasizing that while they sometimes made it look easy during their careers it was never that way.

“Some days the race track smiles on you and some days, you got it the other way,” said Unser, 82. “It’s not always that you’re going to think you’re going to win because your chances are very slim. There’s 32 other guys who want it as bad as you do.”

Having good cars certainly helped, but their wins all involved overcoming daunting challenges and a bit of luck.

Foyt was the first to four, winning in 1961, ‘64, ’67 and ‘77, building his own chassis for several of those victories. Unser (1970, ’71, ‘78 and ’87) initially wasn't on Penske's Indy roster for the last one but took over for injured Danny Ongais — his replacement — and drove a March-Cosworth show car pulled from a Pennsylvania hotel lobby. Mario Andretti exited late and Roberto Guerrero's car stalled in the pits, allowing “Big Al” to take over and lead the final 17 laps to tie Foyt.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — When Helio Castroneves left Indianapolis last May, he pleaded with Roger Penske for one more chance at a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 win. Now that Castroneves is back in town and Penske has assured the exuberant Brazilian racer of making at least two more Indy starts It's a solid start to Castroneves ' latest attempt to join Mears, Unser and A.J. Foyt in the four - time winners club . "Hey, it's the 10th anniversary of No. 3," Penske President Tim Cindric joked Wednesday, drawing laughter from Mears and Penske before explaining why Castroneves has been

Three- time Indianapolis 500 Helio Castroneves withstood a late afternoon charge from two- time Indy pole winner Ed Carpenter to hold onto the top seed in Sunday's nine-car pole shootout. Castroneves posted a four -lap average of 228.919 mph on the fourth attempt of the day then waited through two rain delays and 43 runs. Patrick wound up ninth at 227.610 in attempting to make her final race.

Mears won in 1979, ‘84, ’88 and '91, with that final victory requiring passing Michael Andretti late on the outside after being passed on the previous lap on a restart before pulling away in a backup car.

Castroneves seemed on a fast track to four with Indy wins in 2001, ‘02 and ’09, though his second win over Paul Tracy involved controversy and a lengthy postrace review. Overcoming his long gap between his third and fourth Indy wins demonstrated a doggedness that impressed Mears.

“I know when I won the fourth to get up here with two of my heroes, even though the number was the same, I was still not in their category,” said Mears, 69, Castroneves’ former mentor at Penske.

“So, to be able to be with them, it was incredible. And I’m pretty sure Helio feels very similar in that way. He’s worked hard for it and he did a hell of a job getting that fourth.”

Of course, Mears also warned his former protege that if he won a fifth Indy, he’d also be lonely as the only member of that club.

“The fee will triple if you win five,” Mears said.

Foyt, 86, suggested that today’s tech-laden open-wheeled machines could eventually produce a six- or seven-time winner. The need for an engineer to start the engine brought a colorful response from the no-nonsense Texan, who also noted that winning a 500 even once brings notoriety.

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“Anybody that can win the race, it’s a great victory,” he said, “because the world knows if you won the Indy 500, it’s like the Kentucky Derby. You can have a bad horse, but if he won the Derby, the whole world knows it.”

Winning four Indys is a completely different realm and Castroneves is letting every moment sink in.

Though he kept his feet on the ground instead of climbing the fence as he did in May, Castroneves was over the moon with the accolades. He coaxed his elite brethren into putting their winners’ bling together with his for photos before grinning widely with Mears, Foyt and Unser on the track.

Pouring his own gilded bricks is just one of a series of unique honors Castroneves figures to receive for an accomplishment that doesn’t appear to be matched anytime soon.

“It makes me more appreciative for what I’ve done," he said.


More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Gary B. Graves, The Associated Press

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