Castroneves "will not give up" Indy 500 dream despite tough loss

Helio Castroneves came within arm's reach of his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory, but crossed the finish line as the runner-up for the third time in his career.

Castroneves "will not give up" Indy 500 dream despite tough loss
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Winner Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda celebrates
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda
Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda
Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet, Ed Jones, Dale Coyne Racing Honda, Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet

"Yes, finishing second again sucks," he said in the post-race press conference. "So close to get the fourth. I really am trying. I will not give up this dream. I know it's going to happen."

Castroneves charged to the front late in the race, passing Takuma Sato and then-race leader Max Chilton with just six laps to go.

But he couldn't shake the tenacious Sato, who followed him through on the inside of the Chilton before launching an assault on Castroneves himself.

With just over 12 miles to go, Sato made a power move to the outside and cleared the Team Penske driver entering Turn 1.

Castroneves tried to respond, but it was to no avail, taking the checkered flag 0.2011s back from the Andretti Autosport driver.

"I try everything I could with three laps to go, two laps to go," said the Brazilian. "I went outside. Unfortunately my tires were overshot a little bit. I would have end up in the wall.

"I thought it was good timing because I would try to make a move again. Man, he just took off and that's it. That was my last chance.

"Really disappointed for the fans, for obviously my team. They gave me a great car. I did everything I could, trust me, everything I could. Unfortunately, second place is the best for us today."

Honda power

While hunting Sato, Castroneves knew the odds were stacked against him. Barring an engine failure like the ones that eliminated Ryan Hunter-Reay, Fernando Alonso and Charlie Kimball, there was going to be little the Chevrolet could do in a one-on-one fight with the Honda.

"(In) 2014 we had something more. Look, he did a 221.5 his last lap. By myself I was doing 220.0. They were a mile and a half faster than us. 2014, probably a half mile an hour, maybe 0.7.

"You could see for me was really, really strong. Especially when you pass, they back off, lift off. When they come back, they come back really strong.

"Actually when I went pass, I think three laps to go, on the outside, I knew I wouldn't make it. As soon as I start turning, the car start pushing. I'm like, 'Oh, this is going to be a problem.'

"Then I thought it would create momentum for us, but unfortunately not even that. I wasn't even able to get that. So really a shame, really disappointed for that."

Another close call

Although this was a tough one to swallow, this isn't the toughest loss Castroneves has had to endure at Indianapolis.

He cited the finish of the 2003 race as the one that hurt the most, knowing that in both 2014 and 2017, he gave it all he had. It just wasn't quite enough.

"I knew that A.J. Foyt Jr. would back off that much in turn two (in 2003 and) I would go for it," recalled Castroneves. "That basically made me lose the race.

"Obviously, I was about three, four seconds ahead, or two seconds ahead of Gil [de Ferran]. It was so bad that I have to slow down to third gear so that we don't crash. Obviously, Gil came with the momentum and passed me. That would be the biggest one.

"Now, '14 and today, I did everything in my power, in the Chevy power that we had, to make it happen. Unfortunately, it came short again."

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