I’m extremely thankful that I made it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month. I honestly didn’t think it would be possible. Mind over matter and a truly determined spirit, combined with hard work can accomplish more than one might imagine.
I think Helio Castroneves would agree with that sentiment, and let me tell you why.
It’s no secret that Team Penske has been struggling over the past 10 days leading up to this Indianapolis 500 weekend, but then Carb Day happened. The last track time that is bestowed upon the field of 33, before taking the green for the 101st Running of the iconic race. While the 5-car team has tended to float around in mid-pack or worse during practice and qualifying, the hour and 5 minute long session on Friday proved that only the foolish would count this 16-time 500-winning team, out in the month of May.
3-time ‘500’ winner Castroneves paced the field, while his teammates ran P8, P9, P11, and P15. They still have some ground to gain as a group, but Roger Penske has to be feeling pretty confident about his chances at win number 17. Castroneves has the determination to become the 4th person to win the event four times. He and his No. 3 crew know how to win here, and the hard work they put in, day in and day out, is always guaranteed. Why? Because Roger wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best.
I have to add this, just as my own selfish commentary: There are a lot of drivers in the field I would be ecstatic to see in victory lane on Sunday, but witnessing Helio win a fourth ‘500’ title would mean I was present at the track for all four of his wins, and that would be an amazing thing to have witnessed. Moments like that are a part of history. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
History is what Indianapolis Motor Speedway yields every time she is awoken by the roar of eleven rows of three screaming over her bricks, skating around her turns, and making their mark indelibly into the souls of all who are drawn in by her. She, the Cathedral of Speed, stands tall holding stories, emotion, and secrets like a living breathing memory in the form of asphalt, steel, mortar, and of course… brick.
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Photo credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar