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Helio Castroneves Wins the Kentucky 300 IndyCar race – 200th Indy IZOD Race

By D. Brian Smith
Photography: Ben Moment

Doing his best automotive boogieing since he won with his feet and grace a few years ago on the popular reality TV show, Dancing with the Stars, performed a bit of a waltz for a while to conserve fuel, then took to the tango with his right foot, crossing the finish line first in his #3 Team Penske IndyCar. Castroneves qualified in eighth position and pitted for the last time in the race on lap 147 out of 200.

His crew chief, Tim Cindric, a little later in the competition
warned Helio on the radio to make sure he turn slower mph numbers than he’s able to run, in an effort to save on fuel in the latter stages of the race. Tim kept getting Helio to slow down his Penske #3 car enough to save on the precious petrol, which kept sufficient in the tank towards the end of the race, while other contenders had to stop for a splash of fuel close to the end to keep them running. In fact, Helio had enough in reserve to utilize the “Push-to-Pass” feature of his Honda powered racecar to keep him in front of the field.
Ed Carpenter, the race’s pole sitter, claimed 2nd for his Panther Racing team, which equals his best finish ever in an IndyCar. What’s more, Ed has finished in 2nd both times at Kentucky Speedway, last year and this year. Dan Wheldon, Ed’s teammate at Panther Racing, raced the #4 National Guard sponsored IndyCar to a nice 3rd place finish, enabling quite a successful day for Team Panther. Overall, one would have to give the finest running cars at Kentucky title to the Panther Racing team.

With the big omission of Team Penske, the entire field of racers was bummed that Helio earned his victory by being so conservative in his racing, instead of doing what racers like to do most — pedal to the carbon fiber and hold on for dear life. Of course, there isn’t one driver who wouldn’t trade the 1st place finish podium spot with Mr. Helio Castroneves, regardless of what strategy he and his Penske Team had to use to win the checkered flag.
Victories don’t come easy in any form of auto racing but especially in IndyCar. A case in point, this is just Helio’s second victory this year, even though he has run strong for much of the season. He’s 104 points behind series leader, Will Power, who also races for Team Penske.

The IndyCar series race teams go to Japan for the next series race, the Japan 300, held on September 19 at Twin Ring Motegi track. This is the very same track where fan favorite, GoDaddy.com driver, Danica Patrick earned her one IndyCar victory to date during the 2008 season. VERSUS network will televise the race live in High Definition at Midnight {ET}. The race can also be seen in its entirety on www.indycar.com.

Until that stunning race action from Twin Ring Motegi racetrack in Japan is available, slake your need for speed by checking out our wheel to wheel and practice through race finish coverage of the Kentucky 300. As per usual, we exclusively offer our race coverage images in four forms: regular exposures, High Dynamic Range, digi-art and High Dynamic Range combined with digi-art.

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