Apr 25, 2012
SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Helio Castroneves apologizes for his tardiness to the appointment. He was waiting on a bus in his hometown.
The Team Penske driver joined Ribeirão Preto Mayor Dárcy Vera on April 24 in donating a bus for transporting children to playgrounds.
“One was in October last year, and because this project was a success we decided to carry on,” said Castroneves of the city in the northwest quadrant of the state of São Paulo. “The area there in my hometown has very underprivileged kids so we decided to donate this bus together with a company so that it can go and help those kids.”
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Paulistas will be rooting for Castroneves as he enters the third Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle in second place in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings to teammate Will Power. The Team Penske drivers have shared the limelight in Victory Circle through the first three races of the season.
“The team has certainly been doing a phenomenal job starting obviously three races of the season and able to capture three wins,” he said. “Certainly I feel great. I feel very good about the season, especially after what we had last year.”
In 10 full-time seasons, Castroneves has finished no lower than sixth in the championship nine times. Last year’s 11th place – which included ending his streak of at least one victory and pole start – was the exception.
The 2012 season in the new No. 3 Chevrolet-powered Dallara started with the stirring victory on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and the pole a week later at Barber Motorsports Park. He’s tied with Rodger Ward for 13th on the all-time Indy car wins list (26) and is fifth in earned poles (37).
On the streets of Long Beach, Calif., on April 15, Castroneves started 18th (incurred the 10-grid position penalty for Chevrolet changing out engines on its 11 cars) and advanced to 13th.
“Unfortunately, last race we had a little bit of issues with traffic and incidents, but we want to continue carrying this good momentum with the team, especially here in Brazil,” said Castroneves, who will drive the yellow No. 3 Penske Logistics car. “There is a lot of hype and there is a lot of excitement for this race.”
Momentum flowing through a positive result on the temporary street circuit this weekend and into the Month of May would be a boost in Castroneves’ drive to earn his first series title. Of course, he’s aiming for the trifecta.
“I dream big, and my dream is to capture all of them,” he said. “If you've got to choose one, I always dream about Indy and even now so close to doing something very amazing. No question Indy would be an incredible achievement.
“For me, it's go out there to do my best and try to capture all my goals, and the goal is to win. There are a lot of people against that goal, and that's what we face every weekend trying to beat everyone. That's the beauty of the sport.
“So I'm really excited to start the season the way we started so that we can achieve all the goals.”