Helio Castroneves etched his name deeper into the history of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday as he became the event’s fourth four-time winner, with the Brazilian also giving Meyer Shank Racing their first NTT IndyCar Series victory.
The forty-six-year-old veteran took his three previous triumphs with Team Penske, but 2021 marked the first time the Brazilian has raced around the oval at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for anyone other than Roger Penske’s team.
Castroneves was a front-runner all day on Sunday and was involved in a titanic battle at the front across the closing laps with Chip Ganassi Racing’s young Spaniard, Alex Palou, with the Brazilian making the decisive overtake for the lead on the penultimate lap.
The victory sees him join the list of legends that are part of the four-time winners club alongside A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. And the win comes twelve years after he last tasted the traditional victor’s milk.
“I love Indianapolis!” said Castroneves after his win. “This is incredible. I had to put my elbows up to fight there at the end.
“Meyer Shank Racing gave me everything I needed to go fight for the win. Thank you so much to Jim (Meyer) and Mike (Shank) for giving me this chance, and to AutoNation and SiriusXM for supporting us.
“It was so great to be powered by Honda today. We had such an amazing car and the team did an unbelievable job. I can’t believe it!”
“This is going to take a long time to soak in” – Mike Shank
Mike Shank, the co-owner of the team alongside Jim Meyer, was almost lost for words after Castroneves gave the team their first ever IndyCar victory on Sunday, on the grandest stage of them all. And he admits the victory will take a long time to soak in.
It was the first time in the team’s history that two cars were entered for an IndyCar race, with Castroneves making his first appearance for the team alongside Jack Harvey, who ended up eighteenth after a much more difficult day for the Briton.
However, Shank was ecstatic to see Castroneves returning to winning way.
“I don’t even know where to start,” reflected Shank. “Helio drove an incredible race-his experience in this race was there for all to see.
“I’m so proud to have the partnerships that we’ve built to get to this point. That starts with Jim (Meyer), who has made such an impact on this organization since coming on board and goes to AutoNation and SiriusXM, and of course Honda and the folks at HPD have been just amazing.
“This is going to take a long time to soak in, but right now I just am a little at a loss for words to be standing here right now after winning the Indianapolis 500!”