Helio Castroneves: “My car was really on rails”

Brazilian veteran Helio Castroneves celebrated his fiftieth career Verizon IndyCar Series pole position and the lap record around the Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, and was happy to be back at the Arizona circuit.

The Team Penske driver admitted it was not completely plain sailing however during his qualifying run, as he suffered a moment at turns 3 and 4 on his second timed lap, which he was not expecting, but was delighted to put the #3 car at the top of the timing screens ahead of fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing.

“First of all, what a great opportunity again to be back in PIR,” said Castroneves after qualifying. “This is probably my first oval ever in my career, so it’s great to be back again in this place.

“Yes, it’s an honor to be breaking the record, which has been holding for 20 years, and now we’re able to show that (the) Verizon (cars) are fast, and also in my car, the Rev Group car, was really on rails. We came here preseason, we showed that, and we kept going.

“The temperatures were really difficult because of the temperature and you’ve got to push to the limit, and we definitely pushed to the limit. My first lap was pretty good, and the second lap was a little bit of a moments in Turn 3 and 4, which I was not expecting that. That’s probably why it was huge.

“But at the end of the day, we were able to put the No. 3 in the pole position and now we’ve got to focus for tomorrow”