Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves wants a Stingray in his driveway (VIDEO)

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As you’d expect, there are many perks that go with winning the Indianapolis 500 such as the traditional wreath, the glass of milk, and having your name and face added to the Borg-Warner Trophy. But there’s also another longstanding prize for the victor.

Since the 1930s, it has been a tradition to award the winner of the “500” with one of that year’s pace cars or a street-legal replica of it. And with three Indy wins to his credit, Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves has earned a trio of them – an Oldsmobile Bravada from 2001, a Chevrolet Corvette C5 from 2002, and a Chevrolet Camaro SS from 2009.

Castroneves, along with Dario Franchitti, is seeking to become the fourth four-time winner of the “500,” which would not only put him in the company of Indy icons A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser but also net him this year’s pacer – the much-hyped 2014 Corvette Stingray.

With the new Stingray boasting 450 horsepower, a 0-60 mph speed of less than four seconds, and an overall top speed of 190 mph, it’s little wonder that Castroneves – a Chevy-powered driver – wants one badly for himself.

Even if he can’t quite get the name of the car right.

“This year, it is actually the Corvette, uh, Stinger – the Spider,” said Castroneves in an interview with Michelle Beadle on NBC Sports Network’s “The Crossover.”

“It’s unbelievable, so actually, I’m looking for that one,” he continued with more than a little glee. “I wanna go for it and make sure I can have that car.”

It’s probably safe to assume that the Bowtie camp will let that one slide if he wins the “500” for them this Sunday. Check out what else Castroneves had to say on “The Crossover” in the video above, and remember to catch the show every weekday at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Watch Friday’s Indianapolis 500 Carb Day (11 a.m. ET) online and on your mobile device.

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

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