CHAMPCAR/CART: Helio Castro-Neves Going Home

Helio Castro-Neves. "I have a great feeling," laughs Helio Castro-Neves. "And, oh, I am afraid when I have a great feeling, because good things happen." After a breakthrough weekend in Nazareth where he shared the front row with Juan Montoya, ...

Helio Castro-Neves. "I have a great feeling," laughs Helio Castro-Neves. "And, oh, I am afraid when I have a great feeling, because good things happen." After a breakthrough weekend in Nazareth where he shared the front row with Juan Montoya, Castro-Neves is looking forward to racing in his homeland Brazil.

As his journey brings him to the Nelson Piquet International Raceway, Castro-Neves fondly remembers those who influenced his driving career. "My hero is Nelson Piquet. I wanted to be like that man. But really all during my racing career the one who gave me support was my dad. He always supported me -- my family supported me a lot. I have to thank them, because if it wasn't for them and especially my dad, I wouldn't be here right now. Helio Castro-Neves. "And, of course, there is Emerson [Fittipaldi]. He's more [of] a friend and has such great experience to share. I'll call him, and he'll say, 'Good job, just keep doing the same thing.' Who knows? In Rio, maybe a Brazilian will win. Emerson always gives good advice. In fact, he just called me two minutes ago to tell me, 'You have a great car, just be careful.' He said to set up this and do that. I said, 'OK, Chief!' I repeat what the Boss says, and it works out pretty well."

One thing Castro-Neves is looking forward to is tasting some home cooking. "I eat feijoada. It is beans and a special kind of rice. They sometimes put orange in, which is a good taste. I mean, you might think, 'Orange? No, no, no.' But there is a piece of meat, red meat, which I don't eat. I just eat the beans because I love it. But you better be relaxed the next day, otherwise you have to spend the time in the place you aren't going to like to spend time in -- if you know what I mean!" says Helio. With one Rio 200 under his belt, he is more relaxed for his second race in front of the home crowd.

"Last year I was a bit nervous because I didn't know how I was going to be and my parents were going to be there. But I am completely different this year, I believe, because it was my first year last year. So, now I am more comfortable, and I am not a rookie anymore. Of course, I am excited to bring everybody down there. I hope everybody brings some boards, writes my name and says, 'Come on Helio, let's go!' I don't want to disappoint them."

With his racing talent and unrivaled charm, Castro-Neves won't let them down. Source: cart.com

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Nelson Piquet