Helio hot after being knocked out
Helio Castroneves jumped out of his mangled car after it settled in the infield grass. He was obviously OK, but very angry.
Castroneves was knocked out of the IndyCar Series race in Texas, where he was the defending champion, when he got slammed into the wall coming out of Turn 4 while trying to go high around Mario Moraes with 100 laps to go Saturday night.
When Castroneves got out of his car, he walked over the other wrecked car that had stopped nearby. Moraes was still sitting in the cockpit as Castroneves demonstratively confronted him, holding his hands up and basically asking why.
Asked what he told Moraes, Castroneves said he couldn't repeat it.
``I got a good run on him. Somehow, he just keep going up, going up. I'm like, 'What are you doing?' '' said Castroneves, who didn't have radio contact with his crew at the time.
Moraes insisted he didn't know Castroneves was there.
``Our car was very tough in the beginning,'' Castroneves said. ``We were adjusting, taking it easy. There was still 100 laps to go. ... I was taking it easy. I'm very upset obviously. This is going to hurt in the championship. I'm going to turn the page and move on, but it is very disappointing.''
Castroneves finished 20th, one spot ahead of Moraes.
Rookie driver Bertrand Baguette was also knocked out of the race when he was unable to slip through the slim gap between the sliding cars of Castroneves and Moraes.
The oval racing champion in the IndyCar Series will get a trophy named after A.J. Foyt, the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner who was chosen by fans as the best oval driver.
``See, I still have one or two fans,'' Foyt said. ``I don't know about legend. I'm just old A.J. ... It is a great honor to have this award and trophy named after me.''
New series CEO Randy Bernard said the fans obviously made the right choice.
``Of course, it should be the A.J. Foyt award,'' Bernard said.
In addition to its overall season champion, the IndyCar Series will recognize champions for its two distinct driving disciplines, oval courses and then road and street courses.
Foyt, now a car owner in the series, was one of the most successful Indy-car drivers with 67 victories. Of those, 64 came on ovals.
``I'm tool old and fat to get in one, or I'd probably try to (race) again,'' Foyt said, with a laugh.
The announcement of the driver who will be honored on the trophy for the road/street course champion will be announced at Watkins Glen next month.
Tony Kanaan will be racing in the dirt for charity Wednesday night.
After testing in his No. 11 Andretti Autosport IndyCar Series car at Watkins Glen during the day, Kanaan will be headed to Eldora Speedway, the Tony Stewart-owned dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio, to take part in the Prelude to the Dream charity race.
NASCAR stars such as Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson also are taking part in the event. Drivers will be split into four teams and compete in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and a 30-lap feature in 2,300-pound Late Model stock cars.
``I'm thrilled to have the chance to compete in the Prelude to the Dream,'' Kanaan said. ``It's an amazing lineup of drivers and we're all competing for such a good cause. ... I'm definitely going to have some fun next week.''
No bull ride
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard finally got a feel of what it's like on the track in one of the open-wheel cars.
Bernard took a two-seater ride at Texas on Saturday with three-time Indy 500 champion Johnny Rutherford. Their top speed was about 175 mph, about 40 mph slower than polesitter Ryan Briscoe's four-lap qualifying average.
``I've never had an experience like that in my life,'' Bernard said. ``I can't even fathom going faster than we did. I was blown away with how fast we were going.''
Before joining the IndyCar Series in March, Bernard was CEO of the Professional Bull Riders the past 15 years. He never got on a mechanical bull.
It was 95 degrees when the race started just before 8 p.m. ... Roger Yasakawa, who started three races at Texas, was the spotter for rookie Takuma Sato, who was in only his third oval race. They speak in English on the radio during races, but in Japanese off the track. ``I can talk pretty straight forward with Takuma,'' Yasakawa said. ``Back in the garage and the truck, I can get more detailed with him in Japanese.'' Sato was out of the race after 57 laps, when something broke in his car in Turn 2. The car slammed hard into the wall and slid down the backstretch. Sato was OK. He finished 25th in the 26-car field.