Friday, September 17, 2021

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Helio Castroneves Returns to Victory Lane for First Time Since 2014

IndyCar’s own Spider-Man made his return to victory lane on the same weekend the new Spider-Man movie hits theaters. How about that for a coincidence?

Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet for Team Penske, started the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway in the pole position and ended up going on to win the race and finally do his celebratory climb fence climb again. The win marked his 30th visit to victory lane in his IndyCar career. He also ended a 54-race winless drought and he went on to become the ninth winner in the 11 Verizon IndyCar races raced thus far this year. En route to his win, the Brazilian driver led 217 laps upping his overall career laps led total to 5,947. He also passed Al Unser for fourth on the all-time laps led list.

“Yeah, that was great,” Castroneves said. “I can’t thank enough Team Penske, Hitachi, Chevy car group and all our partners, and especially the people in the shop. They don’t get much credit, but without their work and effort, we wouldn’t be able to do what we did.  And again, it’s a great team effort because we came here, we tried a lot of different setups between all four cars, and man, I picked the winner one, so it was really good. The car felt really good, and it was just great.

 

While Castroneves has had a pretty decent season prior to Iowa, with nine top-10, five top-five, a podium and runner up in the 101st Indianapolis 500 with only a 20th place finish at Texas, the win at Iowa puts him back in the hunt for the championship, only eight points behind Scott Dixon for the championship lead going into Toronto..

“Well, it’s great,” Castroneves stated. “It’s great momentum to carry on for the championship, and this is exactly what we need. Now we’re going to Toronto to another place that we run really well in the past, and I am really looking forward to that one. So we’ve just got to carry good momentum, and with that, we just keep doing what we’re doing, putting ourselves in good position to win races.”

If the No. 3 crew can keep up the hard work in building fast cars, and Castroneves can continue to drive clean and smart, tacking on top-10s and top-fives by the time IndyCar rolls into Sonoma Raceway in September, he will definitely be in contention to win the championship.

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