Castroneves Takes Championship Fight To Detroit

August 27, 2008

Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone
Aug. 31, 2008
The Raceway at Belle Isle Park

Television: LIVE 3:30 p.m. ABC
Radio: IMS Radio

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda

Fast Facts:

  • Last year in Detroit, Castroneves captured an IndyCar Series-record seventh pole of the season, marking his second consecutive pole at Belle Isle (he won the pole in 2001 when he was competing in the CART Series).  After contact with the No. 2 car on lap 68 of the race, he finished14th.
  • This past weekend in Sonoma, Castroneves started from the pole for the fourth time in 2008 and led a race-high 51 laps en route to his first victory of the season.  This win marked his thirteenth IndyCar Series win and nineteenth career Indy car win. In addition, the victory marked an IndyCar Series-record seventh and his tenth overall win from the pole, one of which came at Belle Isle in 2001.
  • Castroneves’ victory also marked his ninth consecutive season of earning at least one win, a Penske Racing record (Rick Mears is second with seven seasons, which he earned from 1979-1985).  In addition, he also holds the IndyCar Series record for consecutive seasons with at least one victory (eight).
  • Castroneves’ win coupled with teammate Ryan Briscoe’s second place finish marked the Team’s second one-two finish this season (the other came in Mid-Ohio) and it’s 36th in its open-wheel history. 
  • The duo’s front row sweep in Sonoma was also Team Penske’s third one-two start this season and their third consecutive front row sweep on a permanent road/temporary street course (Mid-Ohio and Edmonton were the other two).  This was also the fifteenth one-two start for the Team since joining the IndyCar Series full-time in 2002 and the 51st in its history.
  • Castroneves is currently in second place in the Championship point standings, with 533 points, just 43 points behind Series leader Scott Dixon.
  • After leading 51 laps in Sonoma, Castroneves extends his IndyCar Series record for races in which he’s led laps (69).  In addition, Castroneves leads the Series this season in races led (11), laps completed (2,570), races running at finish (15); top-five finishes (13) and is tied for the lead in top-ten finishes (13) with Tony Kanaan.
  • In the fifteen IndyCar Series events this season, Castroneves has earned three poles and nine podium finishes; completed 99.9% of laps run in competition; started in the top-five eleven times; and led 17% of all laps run.  His pole in Nashville extended his IndyCar Series record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (seven).
  • Castroneves earned seven poles last season, an IndyCar Series record.  In addition, Castroneves is the IndyCar Series leader in career pole positions with 26; double that of any other driver (Greg Ray is second in career poles with 13).
  • Castroneves has finished in the top-five in 63 of the 110 (57%) races he’s run since joining the IndyCar Series full-time in 2002 including Miami, St. Petersburg, Japan, Kansas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Texas, Richmond, Nashville, Mid-Ohio, Edmonton, Kentucky and Sonoma in 2008; he’s finished in the top-ten in 85 out of 110 races (77%).

Penske Racing at The Raceway at Belle Isle:

  • Penske Racing has three wins at Belle Isle and a total of four in Detroit, including back-to-back victories by Castroneves (2000 and 2001). Paul Tracy won for the Team in 1994 at Belle Isle, while Emerson Fittipaldi claimed victory in 1991 on a temporary street circuit in downtown Detroit.

Did You Know?

  • On June 18, 2000, Castroneves earned his first major open-wheel victory at Belle Isle and climbed the fence to celebrate the moment with the fans. From that point on, the “fence climb” has been Castroneves’ signature victory celebration. He would go on to win the following year in Detroit, as he led the race wire-to-wire.

Castroneves on the Detroit Indy Grand Prix:

“I have so many great memories at Belle Isle. Not only was it the site of my first win and fence climb, but I also set the IndyCar Series record for pole positions (seven) in a season there last year. I’m definitely looking forward to returning this year because after being really quick in practice and qualifying, we got into some trouble during the race, so I feel like I definitely have some unfinished business.

"I can’t thank Roger (Penske) enough for bringing this race back and making some great improvements to the track. It was a fantastic event last year, and I expect it to only improve.”