Helio Castroneves once again saw his on-track success match his popularity as the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner returned to Victory Lane twice during the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. After a frustrating 2011 campaign in which Castroneves was denied a race victory for the first time in his 13-year career with Team Penske, the 37 year-old Brazilian driver regained his elite his status in 2012. Driving the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra/AAA/Automobile Club of Southern California/Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, Castroneves battled for the series title and consistently ran at the front of the tough IndyCar field.
Castroneves’ rejuvenated season, which saw him finish fourth in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings, can be attributed to his plan of being a more consistent driver in 2012. He followed through by leading all drivers with 12 top-10 finishes, finishing 14 of 15 races and completing 1,965 of a possible 1,968 laps of competition. Castroneves started the season with immediate success, as he returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since September 2010 at the season’s opening race in St. Petersburg. He followed that up the next week with a pole win and podium finish at Barber Motorsports Park. Positioned in the top five of the IndyCar point standings the entire season, the personable and positive racer secured his second victory of the year at Edmonton after he captured the lead from teammate Will Power and led the final 22 laps of the race.
With his successful 2012 season, Castroneves moved himself even higher among the greats in IndyCar history as he now ranks fifth all-time in pole positions won with 37, 12th in wins with 27, eighth with 29 second-place finishes and 11th all-time with 106 top-five results.
Known for his electric smile and enthusiasm, Castroneves also returned to another place of great success – the national stage of “Dancing with the Stars.” As the only race car driver ever to become a “Dancing with the Stars” champion, Castroneves returned for the “All-Stars” edition of the popular television show as he was pitted against former winners and popular contestants. Though he was not able to replicate his magical run from 2007 when he captured the “Mirror Ball” trophy, Castroneves once again shined in competition as he livened up the show with charisma and flair. Castroneves has continued to be involved with “Dancing with the Stars” since his initial appearance, serving as an occasional correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight” and as a guest judge on the show. He still ranks as one of the top-10 best dancers from the first 10 season of “DWTS.”
Castroneves, who became the first driver to win back-to-back Indy 500s in his first two starts at the Brickyard in 2001 and 2002 and won the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” again in 2009, is known for his trademark victory celebration of climbing the fence after taking the checkered flag. His signature smile and his outbursts of unbridled enthusiasm make him one of the true stars of motorsports. These attributes have helped land him on the pages of some of the top publications in the world including People, Newsweek, TV Guide, Esquire and Maxim.
Castroneves’ celebrity status has afforded him an array of opportunities worldwide, the highlight of which came in 2004, when he had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of a private audience with Pope John Paul II while visiting Vatican City. His collection of vehicles includes the 2001 Indianapolis 500 Pace Vehicle Oldsmobile Bravada; a 50th Anniversary Special Edition Chevrolet Corvette, which he received for winning the 2002 Indianapolis 500, and his latest addition – a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.
In May of 2010, Castroneves also released a popular book about his life and how he’s met its challenges. “Victory Road – The Ride of My Life” chronicled Castroneves’ dramatic rise to stardom and how he handled his high-profile tax case and his triumphant return to racing.
Castroneves will enter the 2013 season once again ready to compete for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship for Team Penske and battle for a record-tying fourth Indy 500 victory. Castroneves, girlfriend Adriana Henao, and their daughter, Mikaella, reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.