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Helio Castroneves’ bid to win Indy 500 falls short again

by Josh Farmer | Posted on Monday, May 29th, 2017

By Josh Farmer

INDIANAPOLIS – For the second time in four years, Helio Castroneves came up just a car length short in his quest to claim his fourth Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil Crown.

Takuma Sato leads Helio Castroneves across the finish line at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Photo by Joe Skibinski

Castroneves, who won the Indy 500 in 2001, 2002 and 2009, finished second to race winner Takuma Sato after a thrilling five lap duel for the win. It is his third runner-up finish in the Indy 500, the most recent coming to another Andretti Autosport driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014.

“It’s tough to accept,” said the three-time Indy 500 winner. “After so many things happened, that at least gives you the perspective that I did my best. I really pushed it. The guys did a phenomenal job. We drove our heart, no question.”

The driver of the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet dodged his share of troubles in his fight from a career-worst 19th place starting spot. He narrowly avoided the flipping car of Scott Dixon on lap 53 and had his progress hindered by a drive-through penalty for jumping a restart.

Helio Castroneves cracks a smile following his runner-up finish in the 101st Indianapolis 500. Photo by Mike Harding

With pit strategy working in his favor and a quick car, the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion eventually made his way to the top ten and come the final 100 miles of the race, he was riding in the top five

A chain of yellow flags set up a 11 lap dash to the finish with Castroneves lining up fourth.

He quickly made his way around Ed Jones and Takuma Sato with his sights set on race leader Max Chilton. The Brazilian roared around the No. 8 Gallagher Honda with an outside pass heading into Turn 3 on lap 194.

He couldn’t rest easy as Takuma Sato moved right into his slipstream and took the lead on lap 195 as the pair reached the yard of bricks.

Castroneves lined himself up to pass Sato heading into Turn 1 on Lap 199 but could not make the pass stick and lost ground, ultimately losing the race by .201 of a second.

Helio Castroneves waves to the crowd following his 2nd place finish in the 101st Indianapolis 500. Photo by Mike Harding

The 29-time Indy car race winner noted that once he couldn’t complete the pass, he knew he had lost his chance at victory.

“Unfortunately my tires were overshot a little bit,” he said. “I would have ended up in the wall. I thought it was good timing because I would try to make a move again. Man, he just took off and that’s it. That was my last chance.

“It just didn’t suck in. I was very surprised, to be honest, because I thought at least was going to be very similar to what happened to 2014. But it didn’t even do that.”

The second place finish propelled Castroneves to the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead. He leads teammate and defending series champion Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon by 11 points heading into this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.

 

 

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