Two weeks ago, Helio Castroneves suffered one of the most demoralizing losses of his career, losing at the Indy 500 by just a split second. But in impressive fashion, Castroneves bounced back last weekend and won his first race of the season.
Held in Detroit, the Belle Isle Races have become an annual tradition since 2007, holding a trifecta of races during the big weekend.
Castroneves- one of professional racing’s great competitors- was signed on for all 3 races at the Belle Isle.
In the first race held on Saturday, Castroneves suffered another disappointing loss after a couple of untimely caution flags derailed his pursuit of first. He ended up finishing in 5th place. After the race, Castroneves said, “”To be honest, fifth place [Saturday] was great points, but I was very disappointed because we had a dominant car.”
Well, on Sunday, Castroneves returned to the track for a vengeance. Starting third in his Hitachi Dallar-Chevrolet, Castroneves laid back early in the race, waiting in the wings to seize control of the race. At lap 35, the 39 year old did just that and went on to stretch his lead to a comfortable 13 seconds. Amazingly, he ended up holding the lead for the final 35 laps of the race, showcasing why he is one of racing’s great all-time drivers.
Castroneves said, “That was a great race for several reasons,” Castroneves said. “One, we were racing hard to the very end. My car was so fast and I could do whatever I wanted. It’s very rare you have that scenario.”
The win marks Castroneves 19th of his career and moves him into a tie for 11th place on the all-time wins list with Rick Mears. The race also catapulted Castroneves to second in the points standing, right behind teammate Will Power.
Power, of course, was also at the race and finished 2nd overall. It was a great display of the 1-2 punching power of the Roger Penske team. After the race, Power said, “It was a bit of a surprise to end up second. Fantastic weekend for Roger and for Chevy… I wasn’t going to attack [Helio] at the end. A 1-2 for Roger is better than two cars in the wall. Second is good points instead.”
Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay had a horrible weekend. He didn’t finish either race.
GM CEO Mary Barra and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder were in attendance.
Race conditions: Sunny, mild, 75 degrees F