MotorSportsTalk continues its look back at the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a driver-by-driver review. P2 for the second straight year, and fourth time overall, is Helio Castroneves.
- Team: Team Penske
- 2013: 2nd Place, 1 Win, 2 Poles, 5 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 16 Top-10, 239 Laps Led, 9.2 Avg. Start, 7.5 Avg. Finish
- 2014: 2nd Place, 1 Win, 3 Poles, 6 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 282 Laps Led, 5.7 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish
How many more times can Helio Castroneves suffer the heartbreak of second in the IndyCar championship? The 39-year-old Brazilian had his second straight, and fourth overall, runner-up finish. Unfortunately for Castroneves, the year ended with a whimper rather than a flourish and second was a fortunate result given his ending.
He ended 12th at Toronto race two in a result that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But that kicked off a run of five straight finishes outside the top-10 to end the year, as he lost the title lead at Mid-Ohio and then never found the form he had enjoyed earlier in the season. The highlights of the opening 13 races were of course his near miss at the Indianapolis 500, when he barely ended second, and an utterly crushing drive to win Detroit race two. His Detroit win was arguably one of his best drives in his 17-year career.
Qualifying remained his strong suit overall and with only two starts outside the top-10, Castroneves led the field with a 5.7 average grid position this season. His only major mistake in the opening 13 races came at Houston race two, when he collected Sebastien Bourdais and then acted as though the Frenchman had no idea what he was doing during his in-race interview. Other than that it was a solid, but once again unfulfilling season.