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At Home with Helio: Castroneves not ready to give up pursuit of fourth Indy 500 title

Dave Calabro visited Helio Castroneves' Florida home, where two decades of IndyCar success literally covers the walls.

INDIANAPOLIS — Helio Castroneves is well known for his love of the Indianapolis 500 and jumping fences from time to time.

But there's more to him than meets the eye.

"This is what I like. When you come here, I like you to just cruise in the wind and the breeze, you know. It's just such great weather. Just disconnect."

Helio loves the coast of Florida, his home. He's trying some new things, like boating, though he denies a story that he once sunk a boat.

"I did not. It was the boat that sunk itself. I didn't hit anything," he said.

Boating might be a new challenge, but IndyCar racing came naturally, starting with winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2001.

"That was, for me, was like, 'Whoa! I finally did it. Until that time, my name changed from Helio Castroneves to Indy 500 champion and that was big," Helio said.

Helio became a household name, winning the 500 three times.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this May 24, 2009, file photo, Helio Castroneves of Brazil climbs the safety fence with members of his pit crew after winning the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will move to Team Penske's sports car program next season, bringing his 20-year full-time IndyCar career to an end. Castroneves will still drive for Penske at the Indianapolis 500. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Those victories are part of a massive trophy room in his home, which includes a piece of the fence at IMS. 

He hopes to climb that fence one more time and become the fourth driver in history to win the 500 four times. But he said there's no pressure to get that milestone win. 

"Pressure? I would change that word to expectation. Every time I go out there I have my own expectation to get the number four. For me, for the fans, for part of history, it would be great," Castroneves said.

Credit: WTHR
The walls of Helio's trophy room are filled with two decades of racing success.

His biggest trophy from his success at Indianapolis sits in his garage. A replica of his 2001 car, gifted by Roger Penske. 

Castroneves has won it all, made millions of dollars and has all the trappings of success. But he's most proud of his wife and daughter.

"Adrianna, she wears the pants in this family, let me tell you. Every time I come home, 'Here you go honey. This is your pants,' so it's great," Helio laughs. "We are having a great time and my little girl isn't so little anymore. She is 11, so..."

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A few years back, we let you meet Helio's daughter, Mikaella. They have that special father-daughter bond.

"She calls 'Poppy,' sometimes 'Pi,' which is in Portuguese, Spanish, so she does not call me 'Daddy.' I haven't heard that phrase yet," Helio said. "It's the best thing in the world when she comes and talks to me and says, 'I love you.' It's the best part of my day, to be honest."

Helio just turned 46 years old and life couldn't be better. But don't bring up retirement.

"I'm not done. I'm ready to keep it going," Helio said. "Look, Tom Brady did it. Why can I not do it?"

Credit: AP
Helio Castroneves of Brazil prepares to drive during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Helio still has the drive to win again. That second career as a boat captain can wait.

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