Helio Castroneves is the only IZOD IndyCar Series driver to complete all 1,753 race laps this season.
That statistic is a statement of consistency that has led to and kept the veteran atop the series championship standings entering round 14 of 19 and a testament to the No. 3 Team Penske car’s crew. Castroneves, who has finished in the top 10 the past nine races, enjoys a 29-point advantage over Scott Dixon heading into the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio this weekend.
“Our approach is the same. That’s what got us here,” said Castroneves. “Hopefully with that same kind of consistency, mentality, when we have a car to go for it we go for it. I think with that kind of thinking, it’s going to take us there, as well.”
Enjoy might be too strong, though, considering Dixon has won the past two races on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course and the past three races this season to vault into contention.
“We just have to keep focused on our work. I’m not worried less or more because it’s Scott,” Castroneves said. “The same thing was with (third-place) Ryan (Hunter-Reay). They’re both on great teams. I trust my guys. I know we have the best equipment, the best guys out there. We know what we’re capable of. That’s what we’re focused on at this point.”
Castroneves has held the top spot in the standings for a career-high eight races, dating to Race 1 at Detroit in early June, in pursuit of his first series title. The 90-lap race at challenging Mid-Ohio, where he last won in 2001 and last placed in the top five in 2010, is the next step to realizing his goal.
“I want (the title) more than anybody,” he said. “Especially having those guys behind me, I have that chance. Experienced guys, experienced teams. When you put yourself in this position, yes, I’m going to fight as much as I can. If I have a good car to finish, I will finish strong. If I don’t have a good car to finish, I’ll play smart. You use different strategies, ways to put us there. That’s what’s happening at this point.”