Helio Castroneves: “We’re not going to let this escape again”

Credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar

Helio Castroneves secured his third consecutive pole position for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, but the Brazilian is eager to return to winning ways, having only once taken victory at the legendary street circuit, all the way back in 2001.

Castroneves was the only Chevrolet-powered to make it through to the Fast Six shootout, and the Team Penske driver made the most of it to deny Scott Dixon pole position by 0.1869 seconds.

The Brazilian felt that his #3 machine felt good throughout qualifying, and found the alternate red walled Firestone tyres working well for him, which aided him in taking top spot on Saturday.

“This competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s so incredible,” said Castroneves. “It’s ridiculous, plus every time you go into a session, it’s something different.

“The track changes, the tyres change, traffic… It is absolutely very difficult. The crucial time when it comes, you see everybody hundredths of a second separated from each other. My car felt pretty good. Especially with the reds (Firestone alternate tyres), my car came alive from this morning, so the AAA Chevy is working really hard.

“Today is extra special because Long Beach is a great place. I remember winning here from the pole in 2001 and, the last two years, we were right there. We’re not going to let this escape again.”