For those that have been living under a rock, after Hurricane Harvey wrecked havoc on the Texas coast, another yet stronger hurricane is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and those in it’s possible path are bracing for it’s impact. Hurricane Irma is going to possibly affect the eastern seaboard of the United States. With it being a Category 5 and having a track to make at least some kind of landfall in South Florida, it could really alter plans of a Verizon IndyCar Series driver too.
Everyone knows that athletes are the definition of routine. They eat the same way, train the same way, prepare the same way and do everything the same way. They’re a product of superstition and routine. But, Helio Castroneves’ routine could be drastically changed ahead of one of the biggest races of his career.
In 20 years at IndyCar’s highest level, Castroneves has three Indianapolis 500 triumphs, including 30 career victories and four runner-ups in the championship standings. But, the popular Brazilian has never won a series championship before.
This season though, he has 15 top 10’s in 16 starts and is just 23 points behind teammate Josef Newgarden for his first career championship. Here he is with his focus trying to stay on his first Astor Cup trophy next weekend at Sonoma, and here he is with his mind of Hurricane Irma.
“I’m ready to go to Sonoma where we’re going to be testing Thursday, and then be back next week,” Castroneves said on a conference call on Tuesday. “First of all, we’ll be getting ready here for the hurricane to be honest. I’m just a little confused to go back or not. But other than that, championship is on the line. We’re really looking forward to it.
“Right now we are a little bit confused. I’m in Fort Lauderdale, tomorrow leaving to Sonoma. My flight is scheduled to come back here on Friday. Definitely considering to go straight to Atlanta and wait until it waves bye, and then go back here and get ready for Sonoma. But there was a lot of things in planning since we got a lead here on Tuesday or Thursday — Wednesday. I wonder if things are going to be okay. So I’m preparing right now, but we’re going to be ready for whatever happens. We’re going to be ready for obviously next week.”
Castroneves and his family reside in South Florida and with him having daughter, he has to have the one eye on his test this week and one eye on the hurricane. With this being a very important test at Sonoma, he needs to have his full focus on his No. 3 Chevrolet and getting it ready for next weekend’s season finale. But, how can you do that with one of the strongest hurricanes ever bracing for impact on your city with you family there?
Then, if it does indeed hit, where does he go between this week and next weekend’s race? You would think he would like to live his routine before such an important race of his career. But, he may be displaced and forced to find an alternative place to stay in the interim.
Hurricane Irma could really have an impact on the IndyCar world too.