I’ve added a bunch of new, HQ stills to the gallery from DWTS: All-Star season Helio participated in earlier this year! You can check them out, week by week, below!
I’ve added a bunch of new, HQ stills to the gallery from DWTS: All-Star season Helio participated in earlier this year! You can check them out, week by week, below!
It’s a new year – and our second one online – and we’ve got brand new themes on almost all of our networks! Check out the themes below, as designed by the lovely and talented Kaci!
Our new main site theme + gallery theme features the photoshoot Helio did for the 2012 Indycar season.
And our new video theme features Helio and Chelsie during their time together on DWTS: All-Stars!
Also, sure to check back in the next few days to see a large gallery update! I’ll be adding photos from last seasons’ races as well as high quality episode stills from their time together on Dancing with the Stars!
Did you catch Helio last night returning to the ballroom for the DWTS finale? He performed three numbers: a group dance at the beginning of the show, a dance with partner Chelsie Hightower, and he was part of Team Call Me Maybe! What was your favorite dance Helio performed last night?
I’ll have videos/photos/screencaps up of all three dances shortly, but in the meantime, check out three photos of Helio (and Adriana) leaving the after-party last night below. They both look stunning!
After the events of last October at the race in Las Vegas (which my family and I attended), I needed to take a step back from racing (and this site) for awhile, due to personal reasons. I’m sure all of you understand, but I wanted to issue an apology to all of you loyal people who continue to view the site, the gallery, and the video archive. You are all wonderful and I’m astonished that this site has meant so much to some of you. Your e-mails, tweets, and contact to ask about the site has meant so much to me and I’m glad that I could provide a place for Helio fans to find information, photos, and news on their favorite driver.
The site will be going through a makeover in the next few weeks as I put up some new themes, catch up on the gallery (lots of new high quality pictures coming for you!), and upload videos to the archive.
In Helio-related news: Dancing with the Stars has just started and, like last time, Helio needs all of your votes now more than ever! Make sure to program 1-800-868-3404 into your speed dial and bookmark the ABC DWTS website to vote weekly! Remember: Helio can only do so much. He needs your vote to win that second mirrorball trophy!
According to USA Today, Helio will be one of the athletes posing in this year’s ‘ESPN Magazine: The Body Issue’ which focuses on showing off athletic bodies and the hardwork the athletes do to stay fit. The photographs are tastefully done in the nude, though everything vital is covered. You can check out a sampling of last year’s athletes (including fellow driver Tony Kanaan) at espn.com!
You can also hear Helio joke around with the IMS radio crew post-qualifying today here at our video archive!
Though it’s a bit belated, I’ve posted videos of Helio to our video archive from his appearance at the Miss Universe pageant! I’ve also uploaded them to Youtube below for easy viewing. Helio was Judge #1 and was randomly selected to read his question to Miss Brazil!
INDIANAPOLIS — In the immediate aftermath of the recent IZOD IndyCar Series race in Japan, Helio Castroneves was his usual happy-go-lucky self.
He’d overcome an off-road excursion at the first turn and drove through the field to a seventh-place finish. When I talked to him in the Twin Ring Motegi pit lane for his driver column that appears here on ESPN.com, he was smiling, happy to have salvaged a top-10 finish from a tough day.
Helio wasn’t quite as sunny when my colleague Bruce Martin caught up with him on the way to Narita Airport a little while later. Castroneves had just been informed he was dropped to 22nd place in the final order after being judged guilty of passing in a local caution zone.
When Martin asked for a quote, Castroneves exploded with an unflattering portrayal of INDYCAR race director Brian Barnhart. He didn’t hold back in a series of Twitter posts, saying: “It is sad to see one person being responsible for bringing down an entire series. Brian Banhart is inconsistent and even changes the rule book when is convenient for him, and his own personal interests. Making the famous @paultracy’s words mine: Brian Barnhart is a circus clown! Very disappointed for finishing 7th and being put to 22nd. This is just ABSURD !!! Just expressing my feelings right now!”
INDYCAR announced Tuesday that expressing his feelings cost Castroneves a $30,000 fine. But I wonder if Helio might have handled the situation a bit more calmly if he had been able to express his feelings in the first place.
When we were working on his last ESPN.com column, Castroneves told me he wanted to send a message to INDYCAR about his frustration over Barnhart’s on-track management of the series. He said he wanted it to be constructive criticism with a positive message.
Castroneves was delighted with the copy I sent him. “I love it, this is exactly what they need to hear me out!!!” was his e-mailed response.
But the columns go through an approval process with Penske Racing PR, and Helio wasn’t pleased with the version that was posted.
“Man, what happened to our story?” was how he greeted me at Motegi.
Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said the decision to soften Castroneves’ ESPN column was his call. “You can blame me,” he said. “It doesn’t do any of us any good to trash INDYCAR.”
Castroneves’ offense occurred on the last lap of the Japanese race when he passed JR Hildebrand for seventh place. Drivers had been warned about the local yellow by radio.
Castroneves did not dispute making the pass in the restricted zone. His ire stemmed from being dropped to the last finisher on the lead lap rather than just being placed eighth behind Hildebrand.
Frustration about Barnhart’s seemingly selective enforcement of a vague rulebook has been simmering within all of the drivers for quite some time and over the last three years Castroneves has been involved in several controversial decisions.
With his future at Team Penske in question for the first time in more than a decade, Castroneves is also under pressure to perform. He and Ryan Briscoe have both been consistently out-performed by Will Power over the last two years and the team may cut back to two cars in 2012.
His long history with the Penske organization and three Indianapolis 500 wins would make Castroneves the strong favorite to remain alongside Power. But many drivers begin to lose their skills in their late 30s, and Helio will turn 37 next May; Briscoe and Power are both 30.
His last win came exactly a year ago on the Twin Ring Motegi oval. This year he’s notched a pair of second-place finishes — both behind Power — but only three other results of seventh place or better.
Castroneves obviously has a lot on his mind these days. He just needs to find a way to express it without getting edited, penalized or fined.
Castroneves’ streak of seasons with a win endangered
Overshadowed by a two-man championship battle and Dan Wheldon’s preparations for a $5 million run later this month is Helio Castroneves’ drought.
The Brazilian enters this weekend’s Izod IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway without a win this season. That’s noteworthy because he is trying to break the record for consecutive seasons with at least one.
Castroneves shares the mark of 11 with Bobby Unser (1966-1976) and Emerson Fittipaldi (1985-1995). Castroneves has won at least once every year since joining Team Penske in 2000, and he won in both IndyCar (one race) and Champ Car (three) in 2001.
No other active IndyCar driver comes close to Castroneves in this category. In fact, it would take Scott Dixon — currently at seven consecutive seasons — until 2015 to match him. Dario Franchitti would need until 2019, when he’ll be 46.
Between IndyCar and Champ Car, 48 other drivers have won races during Castroneves’ run, including seven who have since become (or been) team owners.
Castroneves’ first win, in a Champ Car race in June 2000 at Detroit, came two days after Eddie Cheever won an IndyCar race at Pikes Peak International Raceway with an Infiniti engine.
Castroneves’ streak started when Graham Rahal was 11, and he had nine wins over three seasons before Tony Kanaan won for the first time.
Castroneves understands what’s at stake as this season’s final two races loom: Sunday at Kentucky and Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I want (a win) as bad as anybody, to be honest,” he said.
The silver lining is that Castroneves’ last two wins a year ago came on tracks similar to these last two. He won at Kentucky and on the Twin Ring Motegi oval to boost his career total to 25, which is tied with Gordon Johncock for 14th all time.
Castroneves admits he has struggled this year on the road and street circuits because of his inability to adapt to Firestone’s 2011 tire compounds. But he believes he has performed well enough on the ovals to merit optimism this weekend.
The Kentucky Indy 300 is Sunday at 2:45 p.m.
“The ovals we’ve been right there, but unfortunately in Milwaukee (there was) a flat tire, Iowa with a flat tire, Texas we got a fourth, so the ovals we have no issues with,” Castroneves said. “But unfortunately at the road courses, I don’t feel like the tires (match) my style as good as other drivers.”
Castroneves also thinks the competition in the series has increased, making it more difficult to win. The KV Racing Technology and Newman-Haas Racing teams have become more competitive at the front, and Andretti Autosport has won races with three different drivers.
Castroneves, 36, admits making mistakes, too, like his ill-advised move at the start of the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and crashing into teammate Will Power at Long Beach, Calif. He called the latter “a horrendous mistake.”
He said double-file restarts instituted this year “have put me in a lot of difficult positions.”
But that’s not an excuse.
“I’ve lost a lot of points because of that, but that doesn’t mean the performance you want to have caused that,” he said.
Streak intact or not, Castroneves is likely to return to Team Penske in 2012. He won’t confirm that, but the laugh before his attempt to answer a question about it suggests he expects it.
“Right now I see myself racing next year with the team,” he said. “I want to stay, and I feel they (feel) the same way.”
SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) – Helio Castroneves is not done lashing out at IndyCar chief steward Brian Barnhart, saying the official has “lost it” and is a “serious problem” to the series.
Furious with Barnhart’s decision to punish him after Sunday’s Izod IndyCar Series race in Japan, Castroneves has decided to go all out against the official and is not mincing words to express his disappointment.
The rant started with several strong-worded posts on his Twitter page after the race in Motegi, then became even stronger in a column published by a Brazilian newspaper Tuesday.
“IndyCar has a serious problem and it’s called Brian Barnhart,” was the title of Castroneves’ column in the Metro newspaper.
“I acknowledge that (Barnhart) has done a lot for the series, but he has definitely lost it,” the three-time Indy 500 winner said. “It’s impossible to accept the decisions of a race director who is inconsistent, who issues different punishment to identical situations and who is condescending with some and harsh with others.”
Castroneves called “absurd” Barnhart’s decision to move him from seventh to 22nd place in the Japan race after he made a pass under yellow on the last lap. The driver acknowledged his overtaking maneuver was illegal, but said he should’ve received a one-spot penalty instead of being sent to the back of the field among those on the lead lap.
Castroneves said similar situations in the past prompted more lenient punishment from IndyCar.
“Why does the race director do something like this when it comes to Castroneves but acts differently when it comes to other drivers?” the Brazilian wrote in his column.
Barnhart defended his decision and said there had not been any similar incidents of passing under a local yellow on a road course. He said Castroneves was likely trying to draw a parallel to when the series reset the order under caution at Indy at the end of the last two races there, but said it wasn’t the same situation.
“It’s comparing apples and oranges,” Barnhart said in an email to the Associated Press. “As far as I know, since we have been road racing this was the only example of a blatant disregard of a local yellow, combined with a direct order from race control, that we have ever experienced.”
In his column, Castroneves praised the series and said he is proud to be part of it, but said something has to be done about Barnhart.
“A professional series like IndyCar shouldn’t have to deal with inconsistent and amateurish decisions by a race director,” Castroneves said. “I’m not asking (IndyCar) to fire Barnhart, not at all, but something has to be done. He either changes his concepts or the (series) has to change the professional in the area.”
As the series’ chief steward, Barnhart is responsible for nearly all of the racing decisions, including those dealing with driver and team punishment.
“It is sad to see one person being responsible for bringing down an entire series,” Castroneves had said on Twitter after the race, also adding: “Making the famous (Paul Tracy’s) words mine: Brian Barnhart is a circus clown!”
Castroneves’ feud with Barnhart is not new. He had already been upset with the steward’s decision to award a blocking penalty that cost the Brazilian a victory in last year’s race in Edmonton. Castroneves was irate at the time and confronted officials after leaving his car.
“I’ve always tried to keep my cool, even after Edmonton,” Castroneves said. “But this time it was enough. I wanted to publicly talk about what is happening.”
Castroneves, 36, who gained fame after winning Dancing With the Stars reality TV competition, is having one of his worst years at IndyCar, sitting 10th in points after 16 of 18 races.
Barnhart also came under fire for his decision to revert the finishing order to what it had been before the crash-marred final restart at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Aug. 14. An IndyCar panel upheld Barnhart’s ruling, though he admitted after the race that it was a mistake to restart on a damp track.
Following a dismal start in which he was involved in a series of accidents — many of them admittedly his fault — he is trailing points leader Will Power, his Penske teammate, by 240 points.
Castroneves has three top-five finishes and has led only 34 laps, his worst performance in both categories since IndyCar took over the series in 2001. He has won at least one race every year since then, but is winless in 2011.
Castroneves, known for his fence-climbing victory celebrations, won the Indy 500 in 2001, 2002 and 2009 — the last one just months after being acquitted of tax evasion in a trial that could’ve ended his career.
His contract with Penske ends this year, and he is negotiating to remain with the team.
Unless you stayed up late last night (even later than the race), you might have missed out on an official ruling by Race Control to penalize Helio. According to Race Control, Helio made a pass on JR Hildebrand during the local yellow on course and was forced to do a ‘drive-through’ penalty. Since it was a lap before the end, Race Control, in their descretion, placed him at the back of the pack.
That’s going from position 7 to 22.
Here’s what Helio had to say, post-race:
“This is certainly not the way I wanted to end the final IndyCar race in Japan. First, I have to thank Hitachi for coming onboard this weekend. It was an honor to carry their name on our Team Penske car while racing in Japan. I would also like to thank all the Japanese fans. They have been incredibly supportive over the years and it’s unfortunate that we will not be racing here again in the immediate future. I have great memories of racing at this place. Now, for today’s race – I am very disappointed in the result and the decision to penalize us at the end. I have said it before – the decisions by Race Control have been very inconsistent, this season especially, and I think today was just another example. I am really upset about it and I think it is very unfortunate for the fans and my fellow drivers. Now, we move on to Kentucky and we will be working hard to finish the season strong on the No. 3 Team Penske car.”
Helio also took to his Twitter last night to both thank his fans and express his feelings on the calling:
Thank you fans, you guys r awesome!! What a race! Valeu galera q corrida!
It is sad to see one person being responsible for bringing down an entire series. Brian Banhart is inconsistent and even changes ……
rule book when is convenient for him, and his own personal interests. In the same race in International television he penalizes some but….
not others. Making the famous @paultracy ‘s words mine : Brian Barnhart is a circus clown ! Very disappointed for finishing 7th….
and being put to 22nd. This is just ABSURD !!! Just expressing my feelings right now!
What did YOU think of the call last night?