IRL: Castroneves heads to championship - Pauli interview

Miami area Hometown Hero Helio Castroneves Heads to IndyCar Series Championship this Weekend HOMESTEAD, FL (September 8, 2006) - It all comes down to 12:30 pm Sunday, September 10 at Chicagoland Speedway, for IndyCar Series driver and...

Miami area Hometown Hero Helio Castroneves Heads to IndyCar Series Championship this Weekend

HOMESTEAD, FL (September 8, 2006) - It all comes down to 12:30 pm Sunday, September 10 at Chicagoland Speedway, for IndyCar Series driver and Coral Gables resident Helio Castroneves. That is the time when Castroneves, who currently has more points than any other driver in the Series, will begin to battle Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Dixon, and Dan Wheldon, for the chance to win his first IndyCar Series Championship.

Castroneves, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner narrowly missed winning the Series title in 2002, when his Marlboro Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr. beat him by 0.00096 of a second. This year, Hornish is just one point behind Castroneves in the standings, and could potentially recreate a scenario similar to the 2002 race. Helio Castroneves is ready for the challenge.

"It's every man for himself," Castroneves said. "No question we're going to try everything we can to finish and clinch this championship."

With 11 career wins and 44 top-five finishes Helio Castroneves is one of the IndyCar Series' most talented drivers. He is also one of the most popular with media and fans alike. Although his name is known throughout the world, he has played tennis with superstars Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, his picture has been in People, Cosmopolitan, and Sports Illustrated, and his trademark celebratory fence-climbing has been copied by 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart, Castroneves still enjoys living a normal life in Coral Gables. This includes taking his beloved beagle to the "Doggy Daycare" bus stop each morning.

Castroneves is hoping that his fellow South Floridians will be supporting him and watching on Sunday as he heads into the 200-lap high-speed race on Chicagoland Speedway's 1.5 mile tri-oval.

"I have such a loyal local fan base, and really enjoyed getting to interact with so many people when I raced at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier in the year," said Castroneves. "I really hope those same people will be tuning in and cheering for me this weekend. It's going to be tough, but I hope to bring that trophy home to Miami."

-credit: Niky Pauli - www.mediaracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske