INDIANAPOLIS – “Back Home Again in Indiana” could be said in more than one way on Monday. 21 Verizon IndyCar Series drivers took to the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a days worth of testing. But, that term could also be used for one of those 21 drivers more than the others.
See, after 20 years of racing in North America’s highest open wheel series, Helio Castroneves was left on the sidelines for 2018. His only shot in INDYCAR was to race at Indy. That’s all Roger Penske was offering him. Run the two races in the Month of May and a full time seat in the new IMSA program or feel free to look elsewhere.
Castroneves, 42, knew that no one ride in the series could give him his coveted record tying fourth Indy 500 triumph. So. he decided to come back in that limited capacity. On Monday, well it was just his second day in the new car. He tested last month at the Barber Motorsports Park. This though, was his first crack at the car on an oval.
“Great day today to be back at Indianapolis,” Castroneves said on Monday. “To be back in an Indy car – my Pennzoil Chevy – plus the new car. What a day. We ran a lot and felt we started to build a foundation to new setups. We will regroup and look at what my teammates did and comeback with an even better plan to achieve the big dream of (Indianapolis 500 win) No. 4.”
The popular Brazilian completed 109 laps on Monday with a top speed of 224.673 mph in his No. 3 Chevrolet.
Castroneves, is hungry for another Indy win. Since 2014, he’s only 0.8011-seconds from actually having a record breaking five wins. He finished second in 2014, 0.600-seconds behind Ryan Hunter-Reay. Last year, he was only 0.2011-seconds behind Takuma Sato at the finish. Combine those margins of defeat and it’s only 8-tenths.
That’s why he’s back. He’s hungry for more.