Spiderman Returns: Castroneves Wins 2021 Indianapolis 500

Spiderman Returns: Castroneves Wins 2021 Indianapolis 500

by May 30, 2021 5 comments

In what was an Indianapolis 500 for the ages, Helio Castroneves (at the ripe age of 46) has once again made history. The Brazilian icon won his record-tying fourth Indy 500 and becomes the fourth-oldest driver in history to win the race. Castroneves made the race-winning pass on Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou with just two laps remaining. Then he was able to hold Palou off by a little under a half of a second to secure the win with heavy lap traffic in front of the lead pack. Castroneves joins icons A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, and Al Unser as four-time Indianapolis 500 winners. This is also his first win not with Team Penske, securing the honors this year with Meyer Shank Racing.

After securing his win, Castroneves pulled off a celebration for the ages, bringing back the famed catch fence climb which earned him the “Spiderman” nickname. He then proceeded to hug no less than 50 people, including his crew, but also a ton of his old friends from Team Penske, and even Mario Andretti. This went on for at least ten minutes but it was an incredible sight. The crowd at Indianapolis Motor Speedway could not get enough of Castroneves, even going as far as climbing the fence on the opposite side on his parade lap.

Race Recap

Joining Castroneves on this year’s Indianapolis 500 podium was the previously mentioned Palou, and his former teammate Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud had started in 26th but worked his way all the way up to third over the 200 laps. This is his second podium in the 500 in the last three years. Pole-sitter Scott Dixon lost the lead almost immediately to Colton Herta, and never got it back afterward. He, along with Alexander Rossi ended up as victims of circumstance on the opening caution. Stefan Wilson ended up spinning and wrecking out of the race on pit road to bring out caution number one.

The problem was this was right in the middle of the opening pit cycle and the former two drivers were at the limit on fuel. Both drivers ended up having issues getting their cars restarted on pit road, and each went a lap down. Dixon was able to rally for a lead lap finish in 17th, Rossi, however, was never able to recover and ended up in 29th on the day.

The second and final caution on the day was due to a major pit road failure. Graham Rahal’s team failed to get his left rear tire tightened up and it came off his car while blending back on track. Conor Daly, who was having a fantastic race to this point, ended up nailing the tire at well over 100 mph and punted it sky-high. Luckily, no one seemed to get hurt and Daly only suffered minor damage. Rahal’s bid for a 500 win ended here, however.

Other Notables

Second-fastest qualifier Herta finishes the day in 16th after a strong first half. Last year’s winner Takuma Sato ended up 14th and Scott McLaughlin in 20th. Both Sato and McLaughlin were forced to pit from top-10 positions late, due to running low on fuel. Last row driver Sage Karam came all the way from 31st to end up with an excellent seventh-place finish. On the opposite end, 2018 winner Will Power only improved one spot from the start, finishing in 31st. Closing out the top five were Patricio O’Ward and Indianapolis native Ed Carpenter. And the consolation for Palou finishing second is that he is now the IndyCar Series points leader over teammate Dixon.

Put a Bow on It

In terms of the on-track product, this was one of the best Indianapolis 500’s in recent memory. There were a ton of notable passes, and a lot of drivers getting into the mix. Also, the fans being at the track was huge from an atmosphere standpoint. It was also nice to see some of IndyCar’s up-and-coming stars like O’Ward, Herta, and Rinus VeeKay among some others getting time upfront. The Greatest Spectacle in Racing once again lived up to the larger-than-life hype.

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