INDIANAPOLIS – If the recent pattern continues, then Helio Castroneves will win the pole for next Sunday’s 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network) this weekend. Then, the Team Penske driver will win the actual race itself too. See, he and his teammate Will Power have alternated poles every race this season.
In the season opener at St. Pete, Power won the Verizon P1 Pole Award. In the second race at Long Beach, it was Castroneves’ turn. Then, in the third race at Barber, it was Power’s turn again. In the fourth event, an oval at that, in Phoenix, Castroneves started first too. In last weekend, IndyCar Grand Prix, it was Power yet again.
Power, Castroneves, Power, Castroneves, Power…
It’s not a stretch either. Castroneves, has won 49 career Verizon IndyCar Series poles during the course of his career, that ranks tied for third all-time with Bobby Unser. Four of those 49 poles though have come in the Indy 500. That ranks second all-time only trailing Rick Mears and Rex Mays who each have six themselves. Only A.J. Foyt has won as many or the same amount of ‘500 poles with four too.
So, I wouldn’t put it past the popular Brazilian driver to end up starting on the pole for next weekend’s race.
Then, as far as winning the race, if the trend continues, he’s next there as well.
Penske has four full-time drivers, three of them have won the last three races on the schedule.
At Barber, Josef Newgarden reached victory lane. Then, the next week in Phoenix, it was Simon Pagenaud’s turn. After that, last weekend on the IMS road course, Power won from the pole.
Newgarden, Pagenaud, Power…
“I like it. Obviously we planned it this way,” Castroneves joked to me during the Team Penske media availability at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday. Coincidentally enough, they sat in that order from right to left too.
“Anything helps,” Castroneves continued on if he follows the trend that shows it’s his turn. “This place to be honest, I want it more than anybody. To be in this position, to be so close, with Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr. and AJ Foyt, it’s an honor. It’s very incredible opportunity. If you’re going to count these little details, these trends, these statistics, hey I love it.”
He’s next up and he’s due.
It’s been 48 long races since he last went to victory lane at Belle Isle in 2014. Its also been seven years since he last won the Indy 500. Both of those feats have been weighing on him for a while. Now, it’s his turn to win again.
Castroneves, has finished in the top 10 in all five races this year, including three straight top five finishes. If you go back to last year, he has eight straight top 10’s and nine in his last 11 starts.
Furthermore, Penske drivers have led every lap of the last two IndyCar events, including 411 of the last 425 if you go back to Barber. He has 13 top 10’s in 16 Indy 500 tries, including a close runner-up in 2014.
So, if you play the trends game, Castroneves is the favorite for the pole and the win this month at Indy.