TEAM PENSKE INDYCAR DRIVER
“St. Pete was the first race with
Roger Penske in my ear as my
race strategist. It was amazing”
FROM RACE TRACKS TO GOLF COURSES
It’s fun for me to learn a new skill, and
this is something I’ve always wanted to learn.
I just never realized how difficult it can be.
I admired professional golfers, but now I
ne of my New Year’s resolutions was
to learn to play golf. I just didn’t expect
it to happen so fast.
As I’m writing this, I’m getting ready to
play in the Pro-Am at the Shell Houston
Open. I’ve had exactly 10 golf lessons. I’d
ask you to wish me luck, but by the time
you read this, it will be a distant memory.
But still, wish me luck, because I need it!
When I made that resolution, I’m not
sure if I meant I wanted to learn how to
play golf well or just learn how to hit the
ball. Right now, I’m just happy if I hit the
ball! It’s even better if I hit it and it gets off
the ground. My expectations are low….
Same goes for racing. I’m happy we got
off to a strong start with a runner-up finish
at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
We wanted the win, of course, but the next-best thing is second place, so we’re pleased
things turned out well. It was great to give
Hitachi a podium finish in their first race as
primary sponsor of the No. 3 car.
But it’s been fun and I thank Shell for
the opportunity. Roger Penske is also
playing in the tournament, so I’m getting
coaching from him and others about
hitting the ball straight. But then again,
It’s a great start to the season. As I said,
you want to win the race when you have
a car that is fast enough to accomplish
your goal, but we always want to take
away the positive and for us that is
being second in the IZOD IndyCar Series
Unveiled at the GP of
St. Petersburg was
the Victory Circle
has a representation
of a checkered flag
and plaques for
each of the race
Castroneves is the
only name to
appear more than
once, having won
the race in 2006,
’07 and ’ 12.
Championship points after round one.
The race in St. Pete was also a special
experience because it was the first race
with Roger in my ear as my race strategist.
I’d never danced before going on
Dancing With The Stars, so who knows,
maybe this is my next hidden talent?
It was amazing. He’s a successful guy not
just because he’s good at business, but also
because he makes good decisions on his feet.
He’s fast and decisive and I appreciate that.
He was able to make great calls, especially
in the pits, and the crew of the No. 3
Hitachi Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet
And when he’s not
on the golf course...
winner Helio drove a
fine race in St.
Petersburg, as he
focuses on consistency
in his aim for the IZOD
IndyCar Series title.
did a hell of a job. We’ve got some good
momentum at the start of the season.
Hopefully we can carry it forward.
Racing is a strange sport. Sometimes
you can be fast enough to win and do all
the right things, but something random
happens to you that changes everything.
That happened to my teammate, Will Power,
who won pole and had the car to beat,
but lost that chance in an incident under
caution with JR Hildebrand.
It’s very disappointing for both guys –
mainly for Will, but also for JR. It wasn’t
intentional. A little distraction under yellow
has happened to all of us at some point or
another. Both Will and I had fast cars, but I
know he won’t let this affect him. He’ll be
right back there at Barber Motorsports
Park, which is always a good track for him.
My goal is to win the IndyCar Series title.
We’ve come close before, we know how to
contend for it. The Team Penske guys know
how difficult it is to make up points as the
year goes on. It’s much better to start off
positively than to come from behind. The
negative of St. Pete was not winning; the
positive is that we scored a lot of points.
I’m counting on consistency this year,
and so far we’re off to a good start. Roger
and I work well together, and my crew is
awesome, as always. I’m enthused and
excited about what lies ahead. Barber will
be a great opportunity for us to capitalize
on our momentum and hopefully we can
mirror the success we had there last year
in the No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet.
For the moment, though, I’m all about
golf, and I hope nobody’s watching. It’s
funny, but I just ran into Emmitt Smith in
the hotel lobby. I said, “We’re on the dance
floor together and now we’re on the golf
course together. What is this?” He laughed,
but I hear he’s a good golfer, so I’ll be
trying to avoid him on the course.
let’s just say racing is still my best game.Fo llow Helio on Twitter at @h3lio and Team Penske at @PenskeRacing
I keep telling myself, “You’ve got this.
You’ve got this.” But then the gods of golf
come along and say, “No, you don’t.” I’m
not giving up on my golf resolution, but