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Castroneves a long shot for IndyCar title

Castroneves a long shot for IndyCar title

Helio Castroneves knows how to win.
Two of his 12 career victories in Indy cars have come in the namesake Indianapolis 500. But, somehow, a series championship has eluded the personable Brazilian.
Now, heading into Sunday's Peak Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway _ despite being second in the points with three races remaining _ Castroneves' chances of winning the big trophy in 2008 have to be considered a long shot.
This has probably been the most frustrating season since Castroneves became a full-time driver in the old CART series in 1998. While Scott Dixon, the 2003 IndyCar champion, has won six races and done just about everything right, Castroneves has chalked up seven runner-up finishes without a victory and trails by 78 points.
If Dixon wins Sunday and Castroneves finishes ninth or worse, the championship battle will be over.
But Castroneves isn't conceding anything.
"We have a lot of points (left) in the game," Castroneves said Friday. "We know what we need to do. I think they have more to lose than us. ... We're going to be fighting.
"If there is one point (between us), even (if) at sometimes (it) looks impossible _ and right now it's not even close _ we're going to have the faith. We're going to continue working."
Fate tossed another hurdle in his path Wednesday when one of the Team Penske trucks _ the one carrying the primary cars for Castroneves and teammate Ryan Briscoe _ caught fire on a remote highway in western state of Wyoming. The cars were damaged by water and smoke, and quite a bit of equipment was too badly damaged to use.
Still, driving a backup car that was quickly put into racing shape, Castroneves was second in the opening practice Friday and led in the second session.
"I told the guy my setup was on fire," Castroneves said, laughing. "Joking aside, the good news is nobody got hurt and things can definitely be replaced.
"We're trying to put that behind," he added. "But, when you go back to the truck, it's hard to forget. A lot of our tools that we would be able to use here are gone. The good news is Team Penske is always prepared. We already had a truck that came from Charlotte, stuff that we'll be able to use now."
Dixon, who lost the title to Dario Franchitti last year when he ran out of fuel on the last lap of the final race, won't take anything for granted.
"A lot can (still) be lost or gained," the New Zealander said. "You just have to keep focused on what you're trying. That's the biggest thing for us, making sure that we make as many points as we can at any opportunity. At least then you know you've done your best, even if somebody takes you out of it."


Updated : 2021-04-22 05:41 GMT+08:00