LEEDS, Ala. – Helio Castroneves has been in this spot before. In fact, he occupies the same position in the standings as he did this time last year.
Podium finishes by the driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet have delivered the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points lead. It might be only two events into the 19-race season, but such consistency will certainly keep the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner in the title hunt.
Castroneves finished third in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday. Paired with a runner-up finish at St. Petersburg, he holds a nine-point lead over Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon heading into the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 21.
“You have to take as it comes,” said Castroneves, who broke a tie for 10th on the all-time Indy car list with Tony Kanaan and Gordon Johncock with his 108th top-five finish. “You have to enjoy the moment, but work for it. Those points are very valuable if you are thinking about the long term. Last year the championship was lost by three points.
“We are going for Long Beach with good points in the bag, but we are looking for our opportunity to win a race. We have to keep putting ourselves in those opportunities and the win is going to come. With that, I’m going to add more points. So you got to take as it comes.”