Helio Castroneves of Ribeirão Preto, Brazil won his fourth career Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. The 46-year-old who is nicknamed Spiderman, due to the fact he has climbed the chained fence which separates the athletes from the spectators following his Indianapolis 500 victories, got by second-place finisher Alex Palou of Spain to take the title.
Castroneves was competing for Meyer Shank Racing. In fact, it was the first Indianapolis 500 victory for Meyer Shank Racing, whose owners were Michael Shank and Jim Meyer. The only other car in the Indianapolis 500 with Meyer Shank Racing was Jack Harvey of Great Britain, who finished in 18th place.
It was also a good day for Honda, as Castroneves and Palou both used Honda engines and finished first and second. This was the second straight year that Honda was the winning engine, as Takuma Sato of Japan won with a Honda engine in 2020.
Castroneves took the lead on Palou with two laps to go. He delivered with a beautiful outside pass and would not relinquish the lead.
Initially, Castroneves was eighth on the starting grid. He was not even the top Brazilian, as 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan of Salvador, Brazil, started fifth. The fastest qualifier, Scott Dixon of New Zealand had a fuel problem in his first pit stop, and finished 17th.
Castroneves joins a prestigious list of four race car drivers who have won the Indianapolis 500 four times. The other three are A.J. Foyt of Houston, TX, Al Unser Sr. of Albuquerque, NM and Rick Mears of Wichita, KS. Foyt won in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977. Unser Sr. won in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987. Mears won in 1979, 1984, 1988, and 1991. Castroneves’s three prior Indianapolis 500 championships came in 2001, 2002 and 2009.
Castroneves also became the fourth oldest driver to win the Indianapolis 500 at 46 years and 20 days. He was younger than Al Unser Sr. and Bobby Unser Sr. of Colorado Springs, CO, as they were 47 years old when they won in 1987 and 1981 respectively. Meanwhile, Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil was 46 years and six months old when he won in 1993.