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).
“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.”