Helio Castroneves St. Pete Preview

April 2, 2008

Fast Facts:

  • Last year in St. Petersburg, Castroneves started from the pole and led a race-high 95 laps on his way to a second consecutive win on the temporary street circuit.
  • Castroneves’ win in St. Petersburg, marked an IndyCar Series record-tying (with former teammate Sam Hornish Jr.) six wins from the pole.  In addition, with this win, Castroneves broke Rick Mears’ Penske Racing record of consecutive years with a win for the Team. Mears won at least one race for seven consecutive seasons from 1979-1985; Castroneves has won at least one race every year since 2000. He has earned 18 victories in nine seasons with the Team.
  • Last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Castroneves started fifth and finished fourth, which marked his seventh straight top-ten finish at the South Florida 1.5-mile oval.
    In 2007's seventeen races, Castroneves finished in the top-three five times and the top-ten 11 times. In addition, Castroneves led laps in nine races, including leading most laps three times (St. Petersburg, Milwaukee and Mid-Ohio).
  • In 2007, Castroneves earned seven poles, an IndyCar Series record.  In addition, Castroneves is the IndyCar Series leader in career pole positions with 23; more than double that of any active driver.
  • In 2002, Castroneves scored his second consecutive Indianapolis 500 victory and at age 27, became the youngest driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500 twice and the only driver to win the race in his first two starts.
  • Castroneves has finished in the top-five in 51 of the 96 (53%) races he’s run since joining the IndyCar Series full-time in 2002 including Miami in 2008; he’s finished in the top-ten in 73 out of 96 races (76%).

Penske Racing on Road/Temporary Street Circuits:

  • Penske Racing has earned 51 of its 134 race wins on permanent road/temporary street courses, including the last two seasons in St. Petersburg.  The Team’s victory in St. Petersburg in 2006 marked their first permanent road/temporary street course win since the IndyCar Series began racing on non-oval circuits in 2005.

Did You Know?

  • Eight of Castroneves’ eighteen career wins have come on road/temporary street circuits.  In addition, the 32 year-old Brazilian has earned eleven of his 30 career poles on road/temporary street courses.  
  • In 2007, Castroneves earned poles at four of the five road/temporary street courses on the IndyCar Series circuit (St. Petersburg, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Detroit).

Castroneves on the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:

“St. Petersburg is one of my favorite events on the schedule because the track is a lot of fun to drive and there is a great atmosphere all weekend. The fans truly love this race, and it’s always fun to go to places where there is such strong support. The circuit is very challenging because of the long straightaways and the tight turns. This makes the car difficult to set up because you want to have as little downforce as possible on the straightaways, yet enough to get you through the corners quickly. Obviously, I have some great memories of St. Petersburg after winning there the past two years, so hopefully we’ll be able to carry that momentum into our 2008 effort and go for the Three-Peat.”