Hélio Castroneves recounts amazing Indy 500 celebration, race strategy after record-tying win
About 20 hours after taking the checkered flag in one of the biggest motor sports events on the globe, Hélio Castroneves says he's still "over the moon," managing the wild waves of emotion he's experienced since winning Sunday's Indianapolis 500.
It wasn't just any win for the 46-year-old Meyer Shank Racing driver. It was his fourth Indy 500 win – with a thrilling finish – and a record-tying victory that elevated the already legendary driver into an elite category with A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser Sr. (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991).
But win No. 4 came 20 years after his first and 12 years after his most recent one. Previously winning the 2001, 2002 and 2009 Indy 500s all with Team Penske, Castroneves is now the first driver to win "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with two different teams.
And he did it by patiently out-smarting the field, which set the record for the fastest Indy 500 in history with an average speed of 190.690 miles per hour.
They say you never forget your first. We have a feeling @H3lio will never forget his fourth, either.#INDYCAR // #INDY500pic.twitter.com/JxOr7qB5kl
Less than a day after Castroneves climbed the fence lining the frontstretch of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, kissed the bricks and doused himself in milk, For The Win spoke with the 2021 Indy 500 champ.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
So how does it feel, the four-win club? Has it sunk in yet, or did it sink in right away?
Castroneves: Actually, [I was] taking pictures right behind [here] with the car, and I saw the newspaper. I'm like, I started getting emotional again. It is an incredible feeling.
Rick Mears sent me a message and like, "Call me when you have a chance. I know you're busy." I was like, I want to, I'm dying to call him. We've known each other for a long time, and I really cherish the friendship, and so it feels great. And I don't know how it feels right now, to be honest, like shocked in the moment.
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