Helio Castroneves on humorous, surprising and touching messages for fourth Indy win

Helio Castroneves Indy reactions
Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS — Immediately after Helio Castroneves won his fourth Indy 500, his phone blew up with congratulatory messages from a wide assortment of well-wishers and myriad reactions.

Among those congratulating Castroneves included Formula One world champions Sir Jackie Stewart and Fernando Alonso, as well as Stewart’s son Paul.

Business entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who competed with Castroneves on “Dancing With The Stars” in 2007, was among the many others who chimed in with congratulations for only the fourth four-time winner of the event in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history. He also was flooded with reactions on social media (including the football club in Sao Palou, Brazil, near his hometown).

TROPHY TRAIL: Tracing the journey of Helio’s fourth face on the Borg-Warner Trophy

“I have one that was very surprising,” Castroneves said. “It was Edsel Ford. He wrote a very nice message. That was I met him many times through Roger Penske and used to joke with him. He was very happy for the result.

“There were quite a few people who were nice and didn’t have to (be), but that was the same vibe that 135,000 fans felt.”

He even got congratulations from the driver who ended up on the short end of Castroneves’ second Indy 500 victory — , when it was ruled he was ahead at the time the yellow light turned on for a caution during the final lap of the race.

Of course, the 2002 runner-up still holds Castroneves one Indy 500 victory short by his count.

“Paul Tracy texted me and said, ‘Congratulations on No. 3,’ ” Castroneves said. “I texted back and said, ‘Too bad I have four trophies in my crib. I can see that you are bad at me at math, but that’s OK.’ ”

Castroneves joined an exclusive club that includes A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and the late Al Unser (who was part of a documentary featuring the four winners that will air on NBC next month). He warmly was welcomed by the other four-timers.

“I heard A.J. Foyt’s comments and that was very nice,” Castroneves said. “Rick Mears was awesome. I asked what kind of black card we needed to be in the group. He said, ‘You need to pay. We don’t have to pay, but you need to pay.’

“He told me it was very deserving, and I went after it. That was important to me because I never gave up.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III