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Helio wins third Indy 500; Danica finishes third
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)Pumping his fist as he took the checkered flag and breaking down in tears when he was done, Helio Castroneves capped a perfect month of May with the biggest win of all Sunday at the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves became the ninth driver to win the historic race three times, and his timing couldn't have been better. Just 5 1/2 weeks ago, he was acquitted of most charges at a federal tax evasion trial, and the remaining count was thrown out on Friday. Instead of going to prison for as long as six years, Castroneves pulled his red-and-white machine into Victory Lane at the Brickyard. No wonder he was sobbing when team owner Roger Penske leaned in to give him a hug. "Thanks for giving my life back," the 34-year-old Brazilian told his boss, who earned his record 15th win at Indy. Castroneves completed a clean sweep of every Indy prize, also claiming the pole position and winning the pit-stop competition. Throw in the federal government's decision to drop the last of the tax charges just minutes before he went out for the final practice, and "this is the best month of May ever," said Castroneves, now only one win away from joining the most elite group of all: four-time Indy winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Castroneves pulled away over the final laps to beat Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick, who eclipsed her historic fourth-place finish as a rookie in 2005 by crossing the strip of bricks in third. Patrick, however, was never really a factor. This day belonged to Castroneves, who pumped his fist all the way down the final straightaway.
PHOTOS: Indy 500