Back on Track: Helio Castroneves Hits Homestead-Miami Speedway to Drive First Laps as "Dancing" Champion
Wheldon, Kanaan among others testing for March's SpeedJam at HMS
MIAMI--Helio Castroneves can't stop dancing. The Miami resident and two-time Indy 500 winner tango'ed with TV crews, cha-cha'ed with columnists, and mambo'ed with motorsports writers today at Homestead-Miami Speedway... and then drove his first laps in an IndyCar since his Nov. 27 victory on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
Firestone Racing hosted IndyCar stars Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe, Ed Carpenter, Hideki Mutoh and others in preparation for the 2008 IndyCar Series season, which kicks off with the SpeedJam Indy 300 on March 29, 2008, at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Castroneves--who fell just 0.0147 seconds shy of winning the 2007 Indy 300--said preparing to win March's season-opening race in his hometown of Miami is his next big challenge.
"Finishing in second last year behind Dan Wheldon at my own hometown track definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth," Castroneves said. "For the 2008 race, I'm going to work extremely hard and bring back a victory here.
"Living here in South Florida, it is nice to have a track like Homestead-Miami in my backyard. It is always good to have the fans' support here, and it's always nice hearing them cheer for you."
Castroneves won't be the only driver claiming home-track advantage. Miami resident and 2004 IndyCar Series Champion Kanaan is looking for his first-ever win at Homestead-Miami Speedway, although he has yet to finish outside the Top 10 in five career starts at HMS.
"My first career pole at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2003) was a very special moment," said Kanaan. "I have lived in Miami for 10 years and have a lot of friends here, so it was very exciting in front of my hometown crowd.
"I think the track suits my style, even though I've never won here," he added. "I would say the variable banking makes racing here more competitive and fits my driving style and my car."
Homestead-Miami Speedway plays host to the SpeedJam Indy 300 on March 29, as the IndyCar Series kicks off its 2008 season in South Florida. SpeedJam also includes the Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami, the IndyPro Series Miami 100, and a full-day festival of car shows, Memphis Barbeque, activities for kids and live music. For tickets and more information, call (866) 409-RACE.