Photo: Walter G. Arce/ASP, Inc.

The Drive for Five: Castroneves Upbeat at Chance to Make History at Indy

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – “If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

Helio Castroneves hung up the helmet from full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series at the end of last season, but in his new role as co-owner at Meyer Shank Racing retained the option to race in the Indianapolis 500 and this season, he makes another run at the Drive for Five.

The 49-year-old Brazilian is one of only four drivers to have won four times in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, along with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Sr., and Rick Mears, and has the opportunity to surpass them and stand alone at the top of the mountain should he be able to win on Sunday.

However, he’ll have some work to do if he wants to make that happen this go around as he starts way back on Row 7 in 20th place.

Despite it all, Castroneves still remains as upbeat as ever at his chance at history on Sunday, even if it is a long shot.

“Wake up in the morning, have this amazing opportunity first of all to be already with this incredible gods of racing, Rick Mears, AJ and Al Unser Sr. I’m honored and blessed to be in this position,” Castroneves said of his mindset going into Sunday.

“Now having this opportunity to do something nobody ever did. People are saying records are made to be broken in any sport. Why not?

“I’m sure a lot of fans wants to see that. I want to see that. I’m sure those guys here, they want to try to stop that. But that’s life.”

Castroneves, driving a third entry for Meyer Shank Racing, the No. 06 Honda knows how to get things done at Indianapolis and even with the increased competition throughout the field, is ready to take on whatever this year’s attempt has in store for him and his team.

“The competition every year it’s becoming crazier. We thought we did a good job over the winter. I guess the other ones did a better job over the winter. That’s why they end up a little ahead of us,” said Castroneves.

“But that doesn’t intimidate me at all. The good news, we have good experienced guys in the row. Interesting situation in front of us, we have an inexperienced guys. But that’s what it is in the Indy 500. Always have ups and downs. It’s a long race.

“I feel very, very good. I understand what I need to do.”

He added that he has been impressed with the one-off attempt by Meyer-Shank Racing to get him in this race and while they have had a few stumbles, they are ready for Friday’s Carb Day final practice session to get the car dialed in for race day to give Castroneves the best shot possible at achieving a historic win.

“The race car looks good. We had to stop a little early on Monday with a little issue with the left rear suspension, but all fixed and ready for Carb Day. We need to do a little massage still on the car, readjustments to be even better.”

“Looking strong. I feel great. Cliffs MSR team is doing a phenomenal job. Did some pit stops, surprised me how incredible everybody went in for one-off. We’re really, really excited for tomorrow.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.