Helio Castroneves is known for his positive outlook, and the final two weeks of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season are no exception. Going into tomorrow’s ABC Supply 250, Castroneves sits fourth in championship points and is thrilled about still being in the hunt for what would be his first IndyCar title.
“I’m excited, to be honest,” enthused the Team Penske driver on Wednesday, participating in a conference call with media members including IndyCar Examiner. “Certainly we’ve got to do something different, and when I say something different, we’ve got to take chances. If it’s a strategy, if it’s risk out there on the track, being aggressive, we’ve got to do something for sure to accomplish the championship.
“We need to do everything we can. Running short on time, I know it’s two races but basically three races because it’s double points [at Sonoma], we’ve got to make things happen.”
Castroneves has three Verizon P1 Awards but has not won a race so far in the 2015 season; he’s had three runner-up finishes at Louisiana, Long Beach and Milwaukee, and back-to-back third-place results at Texas and Toronto. With the series coming off a two-week break, he’s hoping that the No. 3 Chevrolet can break through Sunday at Pocono.
“The good news is we had two weekends off and we recharged the battery of everyone, especially the [crew] guys because they’ve been working their tails off,” he explained. “But going to Pocono and Sonoma, for sure everybody is ready. They’re ready for not only obviously the long trips from one place to the other side of the United States, but we are ready.
“Those two places [have] been good to us, to Team Penske,” Castroneves continued. “Last year in my case I came in second [at Pocono], and [at] Sonoma we had a strong qualifying [but] the yellows at that place screwed up our strategy. But we feel that we have a great chance to collect very good points in this battle for the championship.”
He’s expecting interesting racing at Pocono, which is known as the “Tricky Triangle” for the fact that it only has three turns, making it one of the most unique tracks on the IndyCar schedule. “It’s going to be a challenge, as always,” he said. “It’s going to be new because of the new aero kit, plus we have the new panel on the back [of the cars] like we started, I think, in Texas. So this is going to be interesting.”
“Obviously Pocono is an important race, because it’s going to dictate who’s going to go to the big one,” he continued, referring to next weekend’s season finale. “But the big one is still the big one. It’ll be interesting to see. But I’m looking forward to Pocono, for sure.”
Wherever he personally finishes, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner just hopes the Astor Cup will be in his shop come August 30. “At the end of the day, we’re working together. We’re working together to bring this championship for Team Penske,” Castroneves reflected, “and obviously if I cannot do it, hopefully one of my teammates can.”
For more on the Verizon IndyCar Series, visit the league’s website.