SERIES GETTING SERIOUS TOYOTA INDY 400 CAN HELP CASTRONEVES EARN FIRST TITLE.Byline: Tim Haddock Staff Writer
FONTANA - If Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves were to retire from racing today, he could look back on a pretty successful career. He is one of only five drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 in consecutive years and was one spot short of being the first to win three in a row.
He's won the Long Beach Grand Prix
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is the premier circuit in the Champ Car World Series. It is an open-wheel race held on a temporary road course in Long Beach, California. , the Grand Prix Grand Prix
n. pl. Grand Prix
Any of several competitive international road races for sports cars of specific engine size over an exacting, usually risky course. of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway and the Champ Car “CART” redirects here. For other uses, see CART (disambiguation).
Champ Car, an abbreviation of "Championship Car", has been the name for a class and specification of cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades. Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a road course auto racing facility located in Troy Township, Morrow County, Ohio, United States, just outside of the town of Lexington. (Mid-Ohio has also colloquially become a term for the entire north-central region of the state, from south of , some of the most famous street and road course races in the world.
What he hasn't won is a series championship. He came close to the Indy Racing League The Indy Racing League, better known as IRL, is the sanctioning body of a predominantly American based open-wheel racing series.
The League consists of two series, the premiere IndyCar Series title in 2002, but after Castroneves led in points with two races left, Sam Hornish Jr. won the final two events to earn his second championship in a row.
As Castroneves prepares for today's Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway The California Speedway is a two-mile, low-banked, D-shaped oval superspeedway in Fontana, California, similar to that of "sister track" Michigan International Speedway. It is located approximately 40 miles east of Los Angeles on the site of the former Kaiser Steel mill. , he finds himself in a similar position. Again, he leads the IRL 1. (jargon, chat) IRL - In real life. Generally synonymous with f2f.
2. (language, robotics) IRL - Industrial Robot Language. points standings with two races remaining, but instead of having to hold off one driver he has four - Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Gil de Ferran Gil de Ferran (born November 11, 1967) in Paris, France to Brazilian parents, is a former racing driver. De Ferran was the 2000 and 2001 Champ Car champion driving for the Penske Honda Team and the winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500. and Hornish - within striking distance.
``It's too close to be thinking about what's going to happen,'' Castroneves said.
Castroneves holds a 12-point edge over Dixon. Hornish, fifth in the standings and winner of two of the past three IRL races, is 41 behind.
``It is one of those series that if you want to make a bet, you do not know who is going to win, and I think that shows how tough it is to know, to be in those kind of situations,'' Castroneves said. ``That is why it is so tough to win this championship, so I believe it is going to be a big accomplishment for any of those four or five drivers. Hopefully, I will be the lucky one.''
The points battle is about as tight as it could get and, as a result, drivers are sensing the urgency of today's race at Fontana and how it could affect the championship.
``It's a very important race,'' said Kanaan, driver for Andretti Green Racing Andretti Green Racing is an auto racing team that competes in the IRL IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series. Early years in CART
Founded in 1993 by Barry Green and Gerry Forsythe as Forsythe Green Racing . ``The championship could be decided right there. You could get out of there with a chance to win the championship at Texas, or you could leave there saying, `That's it.' ''
If Castroneves isn't able to maintain his lead this season, he could be remembered for the one thing he couldn't accomplish, much like golf's Phil Mickelson (no majors), football's Dan Marino (no Super Bowl) or baseball's Ted Williams (no World Series).
But auto racing is different than other sports in that single events outweigh overall championships. In the case of the IRL, winning the Indianapolis 500 is likely a more important accomplishment than winning the series championship, so it's possible Castroneves should care less that he fell one race short of winning an IRL title.
It's one of the reasons Castroneves' Penske teammate, de Ferran, is retiring. He won two series championships in the CART Champ Car Series, but his victory at Indy in May capped an already impressive career and overshadowed his accomplishments in CART.
De Ferran said he can walk away from racing a winner.
When it comes time for Castroneves to retire, he either can look back on the years he won the Indianapolis 500 or the years he fell a nose shy of winning an IRL championship.
``I don't feel less or more of a driver if I don't win a championship,'' Castroneves said.
Tim Haddock, (818) 713-3715
TOYOTA INDY 400
When: Today, noon
Where: California Speedway, Fontana
TV: Ch. 7
IRL points leader Helio Castroneves has had a strong career - two Indy 500 victories - but is looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. his first series championship.
Will Lester/Staff Photographer