Helio Castroneves. Photo by Nico Matamoros
Helio Castroneves. Photo by Nico Matamoros

It was the seventh win in the Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge for Helio Castroneves and his cracker-jack crew on No.3 V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet. His fastest time was 12.561 seconds vs runner-up Charlie Kimball at 13.017 seconds. Maybe it was some Castroneves’ new sponsor’s Shell fuel in his tank – V-Power Nitro+. This special fuel is slated to be available 1 June 2015.

It was also the fifteenth Pit Stop victory for Team Penske.

Helio Castroneves

Castroneves said “I’m glad we’ve got this one, boys. I tell you that. All jokes aside, I’ll be very quick because I’m always the one that’s talking, but these are the guys that deserve this big attention.

“First, this is a way of thanking them for everything they do. Obviously, what happened to us on Wednesday, it was a blip on the radar and these boys did not even flinch. Basically, we got back on our feet right away and got the spare car and we’re running in the afternoon. So that’s just to prove that — it’s not about the pit stop only, but without them I wouldn’t be able to do, without winning and being competitive, that’s why I’m so thankful.”

The 12 teams are in the contest based on their pit stop times for the past 12 months – dating back to last year’s Indy 500. This year there were nine teams qualified, so the other three positions were filled by “Promotor’s Options.’ Among those were the of team of Townsend Bell in the No.24 Robert Graham Special Chevrolet. He races for Dreyer & Reinbold, who always want to be in the challenge even though they are an Indy-only team.

The Challenge dates back to 1977 and this year total prize money totals $100,000 including $50,000 to the winner and $15,000 to the runner-up. Last year’s winner was Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

Other drivers/teams participating in the Challenge were: AJ Foyt Enterprises teammates, Alex Tagliani/No.48 Honda vs. Jack Hawksworth/No.41 Honda; Kimball vs. Takuma Sato/No.15 AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda; Graham Rahal/No.15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing vs Castroneves; James Jakes/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports vs. Bell; Hawksworth vs. Marco Andretti/No.27 Andretti Autosport Honda; Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Kimball vs. Dixon; Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda vs. Castroneves; Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet vs. Bell; Andretti vs. Kimball; Castroneves vs. Power, and finally Kimball vs. Castroneves.

Castroneves isn’t the only one celebrating is 300th indycar race this Merry Month of May. His long-time Brazilian buddy, Tony Kanaan reaches that milestone Sunday at the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. Kanaan, winner of the 2013 Indy 500 said “If I win again, that would be a new story – 300th start. Obviously it would be really cool, but I’m extremely humbled already just to be able to be at 300.” This will be Kanaan’s 13th Indy 500 start.

Castroneves ran his 300th race earlier in the month, at Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Brickyard’s road course.

Justin Wilson
Justin Wilson. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Justin Wilson/No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda has a brand new look for the Indy 500, with a new sponsor – the Rolling Stones. The band will play at the Brickyard on Fourth of July, as part of its summer ZIP CODE tour.

Wilson is justifiably excited. Both Wilson and the Stones are from England. “For the biggest race of the year, to have one of the biggest rock bands in history is just incredible. Listening to the Rolling Stones was a Sunday tradition in our house. We would wake up and my Dad would have the music on full blast.”

And the best milestone of all: As of Thursday before Carb Day, injured driver James Hinchcliffe was up and walking the hospital halls. I won’t embarrass him too much, but he looks so cute with that hospital attire, yellow booties and bed head. You go, Hinch!