2015 INDYCAR Driver Review - Helio Castroneves

October 30, 2015

It speaks to the incredible career that Helio Castroneves has enjoyed as a driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series when you can win four Verizon P1 Pole Awards, stand on the podium five times and finish fifth in the championship standings, yet you are left wanting more. That’s because for just the fourth time in his 18-year career – and only the second time in his 16 seasons with Team Penske – Castroneves was not able to visit Victory Lane at least once during the season.

He was so close. The rain-shortened race at New Orleans. The one lost position on pit road at Long Beach. Those are just a couple of examples of near misses that resulted in second-place finishes for the Brazilian fan favorite. There were other races, to be sure, when his fast Chevrolets were involved in incidents that he had no control over. But that is racing and you will never hear Castroneves make excuses.

“I have won races when I shouldn’t have and I’ve lost some I should’ve won,” said Castroneves. “That’s just the nature of racing. Circumstances just didn’t go our way at times, but there is no denying that the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet was consistently one of the best cars all year long.”

In the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., Castroneves helped Team Penske to a 1-2-4-5 finish by bringing his Hitachi Chevrolet home fourth. From that start through the first race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans at Belle Isle Park, he had finished inside the top seven in six of the first seven races, positioning himself solidly in the fourth position in the standings.

Even with remarkable career production that includes 29 Verizon IndyCar Series wins and 45 career pole positions, Castroneves will continue to be identified by his quest to win his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500-mile race. He gave that goal an admirable attempt this year, finishing seventh in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” He followed that up three more podium finishes at Texas Motor Speedway, the streets of Toronto and The Milwaukee Mile to stay in contention for his first series title all the way down to the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.  

His teammates continue to marvel at Castroneves’ ability to become better and faster as he moves closer to two full decades in the series. He has finished second, second and fifth, respectively, in the championship standings the last three seasons. He has been remarkably quick – especially in qualifying – and consistent as he continues to fight for his first series championship.

“I am having as much fun now as I did in my rookie season,” stated Castroneves. “Obviously we want to win more races. Everyone wants to win more! But to win races you have to put yourself in position to do so and we continue to do that every year here at Team Penske. We have great partners in Hitachi, Shell-Pennzoil, AAA, Chevrolet and Verizon that support this No. 3 team. As long as I keep having fun and we can partner with great brands like this, I feel like I have many more successful years left in the Verizon IndyCar Series. With the team we have I know I can win a championship.”