Brazilians in Brazil: Helio’s six-pack of struggles

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Helio Castroneves has made six prior IndyCar starts in Brazil: three in the CART era from 1998 through 2000 on the old Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway oval in Rio, and three in Sao Paulo since IndyCar’s return in 2010.

He’s never really hit the jackpot from a results standpoint.

The younger, then hyphenated Castro-Neves, failed to finish all three of his starts in CART. An engine failure sidelined him in his rookie year of 1998, with turbo and gearbox failures happening in the next two years.

A nondescript start and finish of ninth kicked off his Sao Paulo run, before being caught up in an accident with countryman Tony Kanaan in 2011 and ending 21st. Castroneves improved from 18th to fourth a year ago for his best race through the streets of Sao Paulo to this point.

The IndyCar series points leader could bank a nice result for additional momentum heading into the month of May in Indianapolis. After two races in AAA and “Turbo” livery, Castroneves returns to the Hitachi colors as raced at St. Petersburg this weekend.

Newgarden fastest as Castroneves returns in weather-shortened Barber test

Photo: IndyCar
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The Verizon IndyCar Series took to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday for an open test, with 24 entries tackling the 2.38-mile road course.

Weather intervened in the afternoon, preventing nearly the entire field from going out, but the weather held off during the morning enough for one session to be run in its entirety.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the way, with a quick lap of 1:07.979, ahead of Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. For Castroneves, this marked his first IndyCar outing of 2018.

Helio Castroneves was back in an IndyCar on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Sporting the Pennzoil “yellow submarine” paint scheme, Castroneves turned 41 laps around Barber in the morning session, with a quick lap of 1:08.315. He was also the only driver to venture out on track in the afternoon, completing eight laps.

The Dale Coyne Racing duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Zachary Claman De Melo completed the top five.

Results are below.