At 46, the Brazilian Helio Castroneves conquered this Sunday for the fourth time the Indianapolis 500, placing himself in the group of most winning drivers in the history of this emblematic motorsports race.
In a fast-paced finale, Castroneves (Meyer Shank) He overtook Álex Palou two laps to go (Chip Ganassi Racing, who came close to being the first Spaniard to win the event.
The Brazilian, who started from eighth on the grid, had already triumphed on the iconic 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2001, 2002 and 2009. In this way, Castroneves joins AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only drivers to have won the race four times.
After New Zealander Scott Dixon quickly lost his first starting position, Castroneves, Palou and Mexico’s Pato O’Ward took turns leading the way during the second part of the race. The Spaniard took first place on lap 195 (out of 200) but the Brazilian achieved one last spectacular overtaking on a straight with two laps to go and the victory was no longer snatched away.
After his victory, Castroneves jumped out of the car and ran up to the security gate to celebrate. Then he went around the track jumping for joy, greeting the 135,000 fans present on the circuit, 40% of the usual capacity (400,000). This is the largest crowd at a sports event in the United States since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the event to be held behind closed doors last year.
Seeking to be the youngest winner in history at 22, Mexican O’Ward finished in fourth place, behind Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who was third. Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, two-time champion of the race, finished in ninth place.