Castroneves takes another shot at 4th Indy 500 win

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm •  Published: May 22, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Helio Castroneves is back at his favorite track chasing history yet again.

After four years of answering constant questions about pursuing a historic fourth Indianapolis 500 win, the Brazilian is eager to end all the talk.

"You've got to dream big, you can't get frustrated," Castroneves said. "We (Team Penske) do talk about it, probably more than anybody."

Few drivers in Sunday's race know this track better than Castroneves.

He won here as a rookie in 2001, became the first back-to-back champion since Al Unser in 1970 and 1971, and after winning the pole in 2003, wound up settling for second to teammate Gil de Ferran. He won again in 2009, becoming the first foreign-born, three-time winner, and now sits one win away from joining Indy royalty — A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, Penske's driving coach — as the only four-time winners.

Castroneves hasn't just dominated race day. He won the pole again in 2007, 2009 and 2010, becoming the first back-to-back pole winner since Mears in 1988 and 1989. His four pole wins are tied for the second-most ever, trailing only Mears' six, and Castroneves has become a fixture in the relatively new pole shootout, too.

Those who have driven with and against him understand why he's been so good on the Indy track.

"He's just got a great mindset for this circuit," said Chip Ganassi driver Ryan Briscoe, who won the pole in 2012 as Castroneves' teammate. "He's got very smooth hands, he's very well mentally prepared and he thrives around here when it's windy. It's no fluke he's won it three times."

Lately, though, things have been a little tougher.

He has finished ninth, 17th, 10th and sixth in last four races here, leading a total of just four laps on race day. Castroneves hasn't even started on the front row since 2010. On Sunday, he'll start fourth, the inside of Row 2, after posting a four-lap qualifying average of 230.649 mph — the seventh fastest on the traditional 33-car starting grid.

Briscoe thinks the reason for that has more to do with the competition than with anything Castroneves has or hasn't done on the track.



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