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No. 1: Helio Wins 500, Joins Four-Time Club

Friday, December 31, 2021 Zach Horrall

Helio Celebrating 2021

The biggest moment of the 2021 racing season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, when Helio Castroneves won his fourth Indy 500 in a race for the ages.

Note: The editorial staff at is taking a look back at the 10 biggest moments of 2021 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this year-end series, with one installment appearing on the site per day in countdown fashion from Dec. 22-31.

Talk about a race for the ages.

For decades to come, race fans will remember the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for several reasons, but most importantly because of the history Helio Castroneves made by becoming the fourth four-time winner of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

He etched his name alongside this race’s greatest names in A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears by joining their exclusive club of four-time winners. It was truly a history-making moment for the 135,000 race fans in attendance and the millions watching and listening at home.

It’s very rare to witness such a historic moment in sports, and everyone who did will relish it forever. Just look at some of the records Castroneves’ fourth victory set:

· Fastest Indy 500 in history: 190.690 mph average

· Time between first and most-recent victory: 20 years, Castroneves (2001-2021)

· Car number: First “500” win for car No. 06. It was also the first time a car number starting with zero won the race.

· Fewest caution periods: Two

· Fewest caution laps: 18

· Most cars running at finish: 30

· Most cars on lead lap: 22

· Most laps completed, field: 6,308

· Most times running at finish, career: 19, Castroneves (broke tie with Foyt and Unser)

Not only was it a historic race, but it was also an absolutely thrilling conclusion as Castroneves was locked in a memorable battle with young star Alex Palou. The duo traded the lead three times in the final six laps, including that daring, decisive pass Castroneves made on the outside of Palou entering Turn 1 on Lap 199.

The roar of the crowd could be heard over the noise of 30 V6 engines, and it was electrifying. The roar continued well after the finish as Castroneves did his iconic fence climb, and the crowd chanted his name as he ran down the main straightaway in one of the most famous celebrations this grand old track has seen.

It was a fascinating battle between one of the Indy 500’s all-time greats and the eventual NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion. But it was also a battle of old vs. young. All month long, the conversation was if the fast young drivers like Colton Herta and Rinus VeeKay, who sat on the front row, were taking the throne from the established veterans.

It was a race for the ages, both literally and figuratively. This time, the old guys won out on a day you couldn’t have scripted for a movie.