Helio Castroneves winning the Indianapolis 500 is an intriguing story to be sure, but as far as I know he’s never posed on the beach for Sports Illustrated, as today’s third-place finisher has. So here you go, racing fans. Vroom.
Danica Patrick turned in the best finish in the history of the race by someone wearing a bra (except of course for AJ Foyt). She did it in part because she was able to avoid a multitude of crashes, including the likes of Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and a most gnarly episode involving Brazilians Vitor Meira and Raphael Matos on lap 173.
Meira’s car veered head-on into the padded outside wall. He was removed from the car, put on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital complaining of severe lower-back pain.
The lengthy caution period ensured that everyone had enough fuel to get to the finish. When the race restarted with 17 laps to go, Castroneves got a great jump on (second place finisher Dan) Wheldon and Patrick and pulled away to win by nearly 2 seconds, more than two football fields.
The Associated Press reported that Meira broke two vertebra in his lower back and will spend at least two days in the hospital. Earlier in the race, his car was engulfed in flames during a pit stop. Matos bruised his right knee and was released from the infield medical center.
But the milk bath belongs to Castroneves, who can now claim a third Indy 500 win on his resume. That document also includes:
- Winning the title on “Dancing With the Stars.”
- Acquittal on charges of tax evasion — the final charge which was dropped on Friday.
Instead of going to prison for as long as six years, Castroneves pulled his red-and-white machine into Victory Lane at the Brickyard. No wonder he was sobbing when team owner Roger Penske leaned in to give him a hug.
“Thanks for giving my life back,” the 34-year-old Brazilian told his boss, who earned his record 15th win at Indy.