BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Just a thought for Helio Castroneves – wager a tidy sum on Take Charge Indy in the Kentucky Derby.

Take Charge Indy won the $1 million Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31 – the same day that Castroneves won the pole position for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Both driver and thoroughbred were carrying No. 3 and the colors were the same. Castroneves finished third in the race April 1.

Sent off at 8-1 odds, Take Charge Indy earned a spot in the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5. Two weeks later, Castroneves will attempt to win the pole for the Indianapolis 500. On May 27, he’ll attempt to take charge of the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 and join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners.
 
“I’m still in shock over winning the race,’’ owner Chuck Sandford told The Associated Press. “We knew we had a nice, top-bred colt who just screams ‘racehorse.’ But someday, he’s just got to get out and do it.’’

The 3-year-old colt was sired by A.P. Indy, and Take Charge was the dam.

Team owner A.J. Foyt, who has owned thoroughbreds through the years and annually attends the Kentucky Derby said: "I'm not much of a gambler anymore, but I might place a bet on him. I like the name.”

Starr waves the green flag

Bart Starr and A.J. Foyt at Barber Motorsports ParkPro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr was the grand marshal of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and waved the green flag to start the race.

"It was quite a thrill to be in that flagstand," the Alabama native said. "It was unique."

Before the pre-race festivities, Starr met with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and IZOD IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt. Starr won the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1967 and Foyt won the Indy 500 three months later.

Design Sato's Indy 500 helmet

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato is conducting a "With you Japan" Charity Design Contest.

The winner's design will be featured on his Indianapolis 500 helmet.  The winner will be chosen April 6. For more information, head to http://www.withyoujapan.org/en/activity/

Team Barracuda-BHA uses qualifying as practice

Team co-owner Bryan Herta said Round 1 of qualifications was an opportunity for another 15-minute practice session for the No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA car driven by Alex Tagliani.

The team was assessed a 10 grid-spot penalty because of an unapproved change of the Lotus engine following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 25.

“We knew we had a 10 grid-place penalty, so we just concentrated on continuing to do some race work with the car,” Herta said. “We feel like we made some improvements.”

Tagliani, who qualified 23rd, joined Oriol Servia on the back row. The Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team also was assessed a 10-spot penalty for an unapproved engine change following practice March 30. It was moot as Servia qualified 26th. Tagliani pulled off course in Turn 4 of Lap 1 of the race. "The engine just died," he said.

Servia, though, picked up 13 positions -- the most of the 26 entrants.

Of note

There were nine lead changes. ... Graham Rahal got exceptional fuel mileage out of the No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car at the start of the race. He was the final car in for service, going 27 laps on the 2.38-mile course. ... Will Power set the fastest race lap at 1 minute, 12.3912 seconds on Lap 79 i nan effort ot hold off Scott Dixon following the final restart.