While Roger Penske just celebrated his 17th Indianapolis 500 victory as a team owner with Will Power’s win, he and his team are already looking forward to the 18th and three-time winner Helio Castroneves is expected to contend for it.
At a post-race press conference with Penske as well as team president Tim Cindric and race engineer Jon Bouslog, Cindric confirmed the team’s intention to give Castroneves at least one more shot at securing his fourth Indy 500 victory.
“He’s going to be back,” Cindric said. “He will be here in one of our cars.”
In explaining the decision, Cindric confirmed that Castroneves’ enthusiasm for the race and for the Verizon IndyCar Series hasn’t waned despite his move from full-time open-wheel pilot to full-time sports car driver.
“That guy was sitting here this morning before I walked in, sitting in his fire suit next to his engineer ready to go, about 6:30 this morning.
“He’s been in his yellow suit, I don’t think I’ve seen him out of his yellow suit since we got here this month. He’s ready to go all the time.”
During a television interview immediately following his crash at Turn 4, Castroneves jokingly begged Penske to allow him to come back in 2019.
For Penske, who stepped away from Power’s pit stand to call Castroneves’ races for the month of may, it’s less about Castroneves’ commitment and more about his effusive personality.
“It’s hard to say no to him, isn’t it,” admitted Penske before turning the floor back over to Cindric.
If Penske and Cindric stay true to their word, Castroneves will be back in the field of 33 when the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 begins on May 26, 2019.