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Castroneves Lobbies for Another Chance After Crashing Out of Indy 500

Helio Castroneves saw his hopes of a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory dashed when he crashed out of Sunday’s 102nd edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The first thing the popular Brazilian could think about after the incident was getting another chance next year.

Castroneves, 43, was running fifth on Lap 146 when the rear of his No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet snapped around, sending him into a spin before slamming into the inside SAFER Barrier at the entrance to pit road. The Indy 500 winner in 2001, ’02 and ‘09 finished 27th Sunday in his ninth attempt to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners.

“We were taking it easy, the car was actually handling good,” said Castroneves, who recorded the fastest overall lap of the race (224.138 mph) 16 laps before the crash. “I couldn’t get too close to the other guys. I guess when I went to pass (Ryan) Hunter-Reay on the outside, maybe got a little bit of debris on the tires. I don’t know.  

“Obviously, it was the first time, but my worry was actually Turn 1, not so much Turn 4. The car, I felt a little bit of a movement, but I was feeling that most of the time. But this time, unfortunately, the rear just over-rotated.”

A blend of hot temperatures that soared to 91 degrees – tied for the second highest in the event’s history – only added to making the 2.5-mile oval treacherous and slick. There were six single-car incidents off Turns 2 and 4 throughout the 200-lap race.

“I think we were just learning the car,” Castroneves said. “You can see some of the cars be able to run together a little more closer without an issue. Myself, for example, when I had an opportunity, I went for it. Maybe with older tires it wasn’t the time to do it, but I felt everything was going with momentum. So it’s a shame that it just caught us by surprise.”

With that, Castroneves – who moved to Team Penske’s sports car operation full time this year, returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series only for the month of May – issued a plea to team owner Roger Penske “to bring us back” for another Indy 500 shot.

“It's hard to say no to him, isn't it?” Penske said when asked. “I have to talk to the (team) president here. He'll figure that one out for me.”

With that, Penske glanced at team president Tim Cindric.

“He's going to be back,” Cindric declared. “He will be here next year in one of our cars. 

“That guy was sitting here this morning before I walked in, sitting in his firesuit next to his engineer ready to go, about 6:30 this morning. 

“I don't think I've seen him out of his yellow suit since we got here this month. He's ready to go all the time.”

And apparently ready to go at it again in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019.

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