Loading articles...

Helio Castroneves wins Indianapolis 500 for 4th time

Last Updated May 30, 2021 at 1:44 pm MDT

Fans take a photo before the start of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 30, 2021. About 135,000 spectators are admitted to the track, for the largest sports event since the start of the pandemic. It's about 40% of attendance and leaves 100,000 empty seats in the permanent grandstands. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Helio Castroneves joined the exclusive club of four-time Indianapolis 500 winners Sunday, and then scaled the fence at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in front of the largest crowd since the start of the pandemic.

The Brazilian joined A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears, his former mentor at Team Penske, as the only four-time winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Mears was the last driver to join the club in 1991.

Castroneves won his third 500 in 2009 and has been chasing win No. 4 ever since.

At 46 years old, in his first season no longer driving for Roger Penske, he held off Alex Palou to win the 105th running of the race in front of 135,000 fans — the most at any sports event in the world since the pandemic began 18 months ago. The number represented 40% of the speedway’s capacity and was agreed upon by health officials.

A year ago, no fans were allowed for the race that was delayed from May to August. This year, celebrities were back and fans were everywhere and they were treated to a win by one of the most popular drivers in Indy 500 history.

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press