Helio Castroneves Surfers Paradise Preview

October 21, 2008

Nikon Indy 300
Oct. 26, 2008
Surfers Paradise, Australia

Television: LIVE Oct. 25 at 10:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN Classic; re-air at 11 p.m. EDT Oct. 26 on ESPN2
Radio: IMS Radio

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda

Fast Facts:

  • In the four times Castroneves has competed in Australia, he’s earned one top-ten finish and one top-ten start.
  • Castroneves finished second in the 2008 IndyCar Series Championship point standings, just 17 points behind winner Scott Dixon.  This was Castroneves' second runner-up finish since he joined the League in 2002, when he finished second to future teammate Sam Hornish Jr., trailing him by 20 points.
  • In the seventeen IndyCar Series events this season, Castroneves earned two wins, three poles and eleven podium finishes; completed 99.9% and led 20% of laps run, and started in the top-five twelve times.  He also led the most laps in six events, including the final three races. 
  • Castroneves’ pole in Nashville extended his IndyCar Series record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (7).  He is the IndyCar Series leader in career pole positions with 26; double that of any other driver (Greg Ray is second with 13).
  • After leading 80 laps at the season-finale in Chicago, Castroneves extended his IndyCar Series record for races in which he’s led laps (71).  In addition, Castroneves led the Series this season in races led (13), laps completed (2,857), races running at finish (17); top-five finishes (15) and was tied for the lead in top-ten finishes (15) with Tony Kanaan.
  • 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 an IndyCar Series-record seventh and his tenth overall win from the pole. 
  • 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 in Sonoma coupled with teammate Ryan Briscoe’s second place finish marked the Team’s second one-two finish of the 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.
  • The second win of the season for Castroneves came at the season-finale in Chicago after he started last (28th) and led a race-high 80 laps.  The photo finish was the second closest finish in IndyCar Series history.
  • Castroneves has finished in the top-five in 65 of the 112 (58%) 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, Sonoma, Belle Isle and Chicago in 2008; he’s finished in the top-ten in 87 out of 112 races (77%).

Team Penske in Australia:

  • In the eleven races in which Team Penske has competed in Australia, they have earned six top-five finishes including a one-two finish in 1992 when Emerson Fittipaldi took the checkered flag and Rick Mears finished second.

Did You Know?

  • In the last three IndyCar Series races, Castroneves earned one pole, two wins, a second-place and led the most laps in each race.

Castroneves on the Nikon Indy 300:

“I’m really looking forward to racing again in Australia.  The circuit not only provides a tremendous challenge for the drivers, but it also allows for a great show for the fans.  Racing in Australia is always fun, because everyone there is so excited to have us in town.  The atmosphere is always amazing, and I’m really excited to get back there.  I’m also looking forward to getting back in an IndyCar; we haven’t raced in over a month and for us to have one more chance to compete before the off-season is fantastic.”