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IZOD IndyCar Series: MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships

IZOD IndyCar Series: MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships

Helio Castroneves
October 19, 2013


FONTANA, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Helio Castroneves.
Helio, a hard-fought race and season. Talk about this year, the championship run, tonight's race.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: First of all, I want to thank the entire Indy community. It was a great championship. We did everything we could in our side to bring home the championship. Unfortunately we didn't finish the position we wanted.
But I tell you what, I had a great time. It was awesome. I went for it. I was driving my heart out out there. I was pushing to the limit. The AAA boys did a great job, too.
It's a shame that we end up having contact with 83, breaking our front wing. But I knew it would be very hard-fought with those guys. My only chance was to be aggressive, and that's what we did.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Normally you're a fairly emotional guy. You seem to be taking this very well. Where are you getting all this inner peace from?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I can't take for granted the season we had. Yes, so close, so far. But, you know, I would say a lot of little things. If you see the way we finish, you got to finish outside the five, you didn't finish. I didn't win, so basically if I lose by one point or two points, that would be hard to swallow.
In the end of the day, you can't take the credit from the Ganassi guys and Scott. One weekend unfortunately for us cost a lot of points. Unfortunately it was nobody's prediction. We did everything we could to avoid any kind of mechanical failure. The only time we had a mechanical failure in the whole season, that's what cost the season.
We can't look back. We just got to continue working hard. This is part of racing. That's why I'm taking it okay. I'm ready to come back actually next year and start all over again.

Q. What happened on the pit stop where Roger called you down and ultimately pit lane was closed?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, I think it was a little bit of confusion there. I asked again to pit. They ended up calling me yes. When I noticed I was the only one pitting, we got to go back again.
It was fine. That was just a blip on the radar. It wasn't an issue at all for the race.

Q. Roger kept saying, No, I'm so sorry. Did he say anything to you about it after the race?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No. Like I said, I was able to go back right away on the restart.
But I tell you what, it's been quite some time I haven't seen him like that. He noticed we gave everything. It was interesting. He made some good comments about the entire group number three. That for me meant a lot.
Now next year we have another addition on the team. We'll continue fighting for this championship. Again, this year proved to be a very competitive season. No question next year is going to continue to be like that.

Q. What happened on the broken front wing? Was it Kimball?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah.

Q. Do you have issues for him or discussion to have with him?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: What are you going to talk about it? He was going for it, as well. Yeah, there was a little bit of a craziness at one point that I even mentioned on the radio. End up one movement little too close, damaged my front wing. That definitely was a close call.
Also with Tag, at one point he came really close. I was like, It's going to hurt. Thank God I was able to avoid.
I knew it was going to be tough. I knew they weren't here for playing easy. So now we just got to keep going and unfortunately don't try to put ourselves in that situation again, try to do a little bit better.

Q. Do you like the fact that you get to close the season at a big oval like this with a 500-mile race?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I think so. I don't know what you guys think about the race, but in my view it was adventure. It was fun. It was a battle. Maybe there was one moment, one stint, that was a little bit calm. But normally it's calm after the storm, but that was the opposite. Every time we had a restart or something like that, it was actually pretty crazy.
I have to say the way it finish, it create some type of challenge. It was a drama, you know, find out what's going to happen. Anything could happen. In our side, unfortunately it didn't end up the way we want it. But I think the fans and everyone probably enjoy.

Q. This is the I think the sixth time since Sam's title in 2006 you've come into a finale and not gotten it done. Why do you think that is with the Penske organization?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, good question. We are putting ourselves in an opportunity to do that. I guess wasn't meant to be. Last time we won with Sam, it was a big battle between us and Ganassi as well.
It wasn't meant to be. We trying to cover all the issues that every season we are in this scenario. Three seasons in a row. One season with Briscoe. The guy led most laps, did everything he could. For the first time ever, there was no yellow flags in Homestead.
Then came Will.
Now it's my turn.
The only thing I can say, we can only build ourselves stronger and come back next year. We can't keep crying about it and question ourselves why.

Q. Will seemed a little emotional in Victory Lane. He said that he really wanted this one, especially after how last year went for him at this track. He also talked about someone, I'm not sure who he was referring to, about last year's race. That's typical Will Power, what happened to him, that he wanted to do this to prove wrong. Did he talk to you about that at all, how badly he wanted this?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No, I haven't talked to him about that kind of scenario. Certainly we discuss with each other. Today was about for us to do everything we can to put myself in a position to win the race, and we did that.
In the end, we work extremely hard together. We have a very good car. He deserve it. He fought hard this season to be a winner.

Q. You've won three Indy 500s, but the championship has always kind of alluded you. Which is more important to you?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I would say the Indy 500 (laughter).

Q. You've had a season now with Roger being your race strategist. Do you prefer to have Roger?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I have to say for me it was great. John is great. We had a great time the last few years. But Roger is in this business not because he's the only team. He makes very good calls. He's decisive. Sometimes we need someone to make the decision. He's definitely the decision maker.
For me it was great to have him on the radio. I enjoy very, very much. Let's going to see what happens next year. Hopefully we continue together.

Q. I know you had the pit call with Roger. At what point in the race did you feel you might have the championship in your hand?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, probably before we had to do an extra pit stop. Actually, I have to be honest. Even when I was a lap down, I was saying, I'm going to make this lap, I'm going to be able to come back. Then when the yellow come out with the Sebastien Bourdais crash, I'm telling you.
Then 20 laps to go, they make the guys drive through the pits. Just to answer your question, probably 15 laps to go I think I still had a good chance and something could happen good to us. But then after that I just decided to not jeopardize anything on the car. There was nothing we could do anymore.
THE MODERATOR: Helio, thank you.



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