Castroneves Wins Indy 500 Thriller To Become Forth Four-Time Winner

Helio Castroneves celebrates his fourth Indy 500 victory. [Chris Jones Photo]

Helio Castroneves celebrates his fourth Indy 500 victory. [Chris Jones Photo]

By Joe Jennings

Helio Castroneves raced to victory in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, making history as he joined racing legends A. J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as a four-time winner.

In winning, he set speed records along the way to make it the fastest Indianapolis 500 ever run.

Starting eighth in the AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda owned by Michael Shank Racing, the popular Brazilian quickly made his presence known challenging for the lead and staying with them throughout the 200 laps.

In total, he led three times for 20 laps with the most important ones behind the final two when he passed Alex Palou for the lead. This duo along with Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward where his primary contenders as the race neared its end.

O’Ward lost out third on the final circuit after being passed by 2019 victor Simon Pagenaud, who barged forward from his 28th starting spot.

Not only did Castroneves set a speed record for the 500 miles of 190.690 miles per hour, completing the distance in a mere two hours and 37 minutes, but his victory celebration topped anything ever seen at Indianapolis.

Performing his patented Spider Man routine that thrilled the crowd but Castroneves ran up and down the track waving to the crowd and accepting congratulations from many of his foes and the likes of Mario Andretti, Team Penske president Tim Cindric and many of his ex-Team Penske crewmen to name a few of the well-wishers.

The post-race celebration lasted an hour or more, and that was before he ventured into victory lane.

“This is unbelievable. I can’t believe it,” chortled the winner. “At the end, I played around with my car to put it in the right position. I waited for the right time to make it happen. I learned from my past experiences and took the lead and never looked back. This is an incredible moment. From the outset I knew we had a car that could win, thanks to Mike Shank and the team.”

The winner vowed to come back next year to seek a 5th victory. “Now I can’t stop and I will be full-time (by then).” Latter statement was made to offset his part-time role this year in his first run with the team after spending 20 years with Team Penske.

“I am in total shock. At 46 years of age, he just beat all of these young guys,” said team owner Mike Shank. “And we did it with two full-time guys as part of our six-race effort.”

In the leader summary, Conor Daly topped the charts with 40 laps led followed by Palou with 35 and Rinus Vee Kay with 32.

After a few days of rain and crappy weather, sunny skies and cool temperature greeted the competitors and the 130,000 fans on hand for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The size of the crowd represented the largest assemblage of fans to attend a sporting event in the United States since the pandemic started and was in stark contrast to the 2020 race played before empty grandstands. Today’s crowd size was set by government officials at 40 percent of seating capacity and adhered to a variety of safety protocols.

The “Drivers Start Your Engines” command was uttered by track owner and Chairman of the Board Roger Penske at 12:37 p.m.

Pato O’Ward fourth and Ed Carpenter fifth.

The second five finishers were Santino Ferucci, Sage Karam, Vee Kay, Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan.

Scott Dixon ended up 17th after losing a lap during the first caution flag on lap 32.

Scott McLaughlin took 20th as the best finishing rookie. And 2016 winner Alexander Rossi, who lost a lap in the same yellow flag situation as Dixon, finished 27th.

Simona de Silvestro was scored 31st after a pit stop miscue near the end.

Two caution flags flew, the first for Stefan Wilson, who crashed entering pit lane, and again in late going when Graham Rahal crashed hard in Turn 2 after losing a rear wheel after exiting his pit.

These two slowdowns consumed 18 laps.

105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Results Sunday of the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (8) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 200, Running
2. (6) Alex Palou, Honda, 200, Running
3. (26) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (12) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 200, Running
5. (4) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 200, Running
6. (23) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 200, Running
7. (31) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 200, Running
8. (3) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (24) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, Running
10. (5) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 200, Running
11. (9) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 200, Running
12. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
13. (19) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 200, Running
14. (15) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
15. (22) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running
16. (2) Colton Herta, Honda, 200, Running
17. (1) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
18. (20) Jack Harvey, Honda, 200, Running
19. (25) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
20. (17) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 200, Running
21. (16) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 200, Running
22. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running
23. (30) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 199, Running
24. (29) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 199, Running
25. (13) Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, 199, Running
26. (27) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 199, Running
27. (14) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 199, Running
28. (11) Ed Jones, Honda, 199, Running
29. (10) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 198, Running
30. (32) Will Power, Chevrolet, 197, Running
31. (33) Simona De Silvestro, Chevrolet, 169, Contact
32. (18) Graham Rahal, Honda, 118, Contact
33. (28) Stefan Wilson, Honda, 32, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 190.690 mph
Time of Race: 2:37:19.3846
Margin of victory: 0.4928 of a second
Cautions: 2 for 18 laps
Lead changes: 35 among 13 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Herta, 1
VeeKay, 2-30
Herta, 31-32
Dixon, 33-35
Castroneves, 36-38
Herta, 39-48
VeeKay, 49
Daly, 50-70
Castroneves, 71-76
Palou, 77
O’Ward, 78
Rahal, 79-81
VeeKay, 82-83
Daly, 84-102
O’Ward, 103-113
Rahal, 114-118
Palou, 119-124
Castroneves, 125-126
O’Ward, 127-130
Palou, 131-147
Castroneves, 148-149
O’Ward, 150
Sato, 151-156
Rosenqvist, 157
Dixon, 158-161
Palou, 162-168
Castroneves, 169-171
Palou, 172
Pagenaud, 173-175
Karam, 176-177
Ferrucci, 178-179
Rosenqvist, 180-192
Sato, 193
Castroneves, 194-195
Palou, 196-198
Castroneves, 199-200

NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings: Palou 248, Dixon 212, O’Ward 211, Pagenaud 201, VeeKay 191, Newgarden 184, Herta 154, Rahal 148, McLaughlin 143, Ericsson 138.

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