Indy 500: As Helio Castroneves made history, he also witnessed it

Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

You may not find a more ironic and fitting view than what Helio Castroneves saw in front of him as he became a four-time Indy 500 winner.

In his 12th attempt to become the fourth four-time winner of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, Helio Castroneves finally came through last May.

Following a Tom Brady-like move which saw him leave Team Penske after three Indy 500 wins in 20 attempts, join Meyer Shank Racing for 2021, and win it again in only his first attempt for his new team, Castroneves can officially say that nobody has won the race more than he has.

Castroneves, whose first three wins came in his rookie year in 2001, his second attempt in 2002, and his ninth try in 2009, is now tied with A.J. Foyt, the late Al Unser, and Rick Mears on the all-time Indy 500 winners list.

But perhaps the coolest storyline from his fourth win was what he saw as he took the checkered flag to compete last Memorial Day Sunday’s 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in Speedway, Indiana.

In 2014, Castroneves finished in second place after one of the all-time great Indy 500 finishes with race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, leaving him dejected. At the time, it was his best effort as a three-time winner, and it was the closest he had come to joining Foyt, Unser, and Mears.

The bright yellow #28 Andretti Autosport DHL-sponsored Honda finished 0.06 seconds ahead of the bright yellow #3 Team Penske Pennzoil-sponsored Chevrolet after making an outside pass for the lead just before the white flag.

Now skip ahead seven years to 2021.

Castroneves took the white flag ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou in second place, but it looked as though they may catch lap traffic before coming back around to cross the yard of bricks for the 200th time.

Indeed, Castroneves closed in the fuel-saving lap traffic, but it made no difference in the outcome of the race.

And as he came down the front straightaway for the 2,343rd and final time as a three-time winner, he saw in front of him the 2014 battle for the win.

Hunter-Reay, again behind the wheel of the #28 DHL Honda, crossed the line making an outside pass on Castroneves’s old “Yellow Submarine” #3 Chevrolet, now driven by Team Penske rookie Scott McLaughlin.

It really couldn’t have happened any other way.

Next. 2022 Indy 500 odds. dark

The 106th running of the Indy 500 is set to be broadcast live on NBC from Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET this Sunday, May 29. Castroneves is set to start the race in 27th place behind the wheel of his #06 Honda (full starting lineup available here). Begin your free trial of FuboTV and don’t miss it!