A line of questioning about recurrent goals doesn’t rile Helio Castroneves. The Verizon IndyCar Series driver, who enters his 15th season with Team Penske, is confident that if he and the No. 3 car crew perform with consistency then opportunities to win his fourth Indianapolis 500 and first series title will be present.
Such was the case in 2013, when Castroneves led the standings for 10 consecutive weeks and wound up as the runner-up in the championship for the third time.
“I just have to keep pushing,” says Castroneves, who recorded one victory and 16 top-10 finishes overall, including 12 in a row. “You can't wait for something to happen. You have to continue giving yourself an opportunity. Certainly we did our job last year. Unfortunately, circumstances outside of our control, it didn't happen. But right now that's the attitude I'm going with in 2014. Give ourselves an opportunity and that door will open one day.”
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the gateway to the ’14 season, and the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street course has been a venue to accrue valuable points. In his eight starts, Castroneves has won three times (the only multiple winner of the race) and finished second on two occasions, including 2013.
“I'm excited and ready, to be honest, to start the season because it's been a long offseason in a good way,” he says. “After a long season, we starting in St. Pete so everybody's fresh, everybody's ready. The atmosphere is great, the weather is great, the fans are amazing.
“Plus the track. The technical side, it's not always a 90-degree corner like a typical road course has. You have high-speed corners, things like that. When the place suits you well, you tend to enjoy much better.”