Helio Resurfaces Yellow Submarine At Indianapolis
By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
INDIANAPOLIS – Retro uniforms are not uncommon in most pro sports and retro paint schemes abound in NASCAR. But, until now, that wasn’t the case in the IndyCar set.
On Sunday, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will start the race fourth in the 33-car field. And nobody should have any problem spotting his car on the inside of the second row.
The No. 3 Penske Chevrolet is without doubt the brightest, most visible car in the field, it’s canary yellow Pennzoil paint scheme a throwback to the cars in which Johnny Rutherford won at Indy in 1980 and Rick Mears in 1984 and 1988.
The famed Yellow Submarine is back. And Castroneves is even wearing a bright yellow helmet to match the car’s paint job.
“I love it,’’ Castroneves said. “Yellow is a fast color.’’
The colorful Brazilian then made a face, adding, “Of course, if I make a mistake, everybody will see it. You can’t hide with that car.’’
Castroneves will bid for a record-tying fourth Indy victory on Sunday. But, having not won since 2009, he’s getting a little tired of people asking if he can do it again, matching A.J. Foyt, Mears and Al Unser for the most IndyCar wins at the famed Brickyard.
“I always feel like we can win here,’’ Castroneves said. “But things haven’t gone our way the last few years. Still, every year when we get here, we feel like we’re the team to beat.
“We’ve been going about our business in the right way. We’ve changed around a couple of things in the way we’re preparing this year and taking it one step at a time. I think we’re right where we want to be going into the race.’’
Castroneves said to win this race takes a combination of preparation and luck. But, to take advantage of the luck, you have to be in the right position at the right time.
“To make this happen, you’ve got to work. You’ve got to execute,’’ he explained. “That’s what we’ve been doing the entire month. We want to make sure that we have a competitive car.
“So far, we’ve had a good setup and good fuel mileage. It’s been a great month. But everybody is so cloase, it’s the details that make the difference here.’’
A big thing that Castroneves has going for him now is team owner Roger Penske directing his race.
Penske, whose team has won Indy an astounding 15 times since he first came here in 1969, took over the direction of Castroneves’ car late last year.
“I’m more confident having Roger on my radio this time,’’ Castroneves said. “I feel this place is all about experience and nobody has more experience here.
“He’s the best guy for strategy here because he’s won 15 times,’’ Castroneves noted. “And I’m really confident right now that we have the best equipment out there. But it’s 500 miles of racing, so we have to understand everything.’’
Pressed on the point, Castroneves admitted, “It would be awesome’’ to win the race for a fourth time, “because it’s only three guys that have done it before.
“However, I do feel that Rick did more than that because he helped me with my other three. So he has a little bit more than four.’’
Mears, now a consultant and driver coach for the Penske team, says he told Castroneves, “You’ll like the fourth one more.’’
And it would be especially meaningful for Mears if Castroneves does it this year.
“It’s been nice watching that yellow Pennzoil car go around here,’’ Mears said. “I felt like that’s the closest I’m ever going to get to coming out of retirement.’’
– Mike Harris can be reached at email@example.comNo Comment