Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Indy Wrap I: HelioX3

Let's get this out of the way: This is a different era from that of Unser, Mears, Rutherford, Foyt, Andretti, etc. Arguably, the fields aren't quite as deep with star power as those years, and the month seems diluted in comparison. We need not review the reasons for this.

Still, at about 4:30 on Sunday afternoon, Helio Castroneves joined elite company by winning his 3rd Indianapolis 500. In the final 18-lap stint, he showed the speed he had all month long by pulling away from Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick to win by 2.0 seconds. He made no mistakes all month, unlike ALL of his main rivals. To be sure, his Ganassi rivals helped him on pit road, but that's what will happen during 500 miles at Indy.

6 weeks ago, Helio was facing serious jail time, maybe deportation. Today, he's now a 3-time champion of the Indy 500, with a true chance at more. A phenomenal achievement in overcoming adversity.

Given his hyper and emotional persona, given "Dancing With The Stars," we forget, or overlook, how talented a driver he really is. I hope that ended on Sunday.

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