VICS: Helio Castroneves Looks Poised For Another Championship Run

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Updated: June 12, 2014
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Photo Credit: Chris Jones/IndyCar

By: Ashley McCubbin – IndyCar Contributor

June 12, 2014

BRADFORD, Ont., CA – With only eight races in the books, the drivers that will be part of the championship picture for the whole season are starting to rise to the surface, while others falter with poor finishes and bad luck.

One of the drivers who has proven that he has the ability to become the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion is Helio Castroneves, as he currently sits second in points behind teammate Will Power.

In the first eight races this season, Castroneves has strung together a win and four podiums with only two finishes outside of the top-10. Team Penske has shown quickly that they are one of the teams this year that has speed, joining the likes of Ed Carpenter Racing, Andretti Autosport and a few others. If the speed stays together along with the lack of bad luck, this could be the year that the multi-Indianapolis 500 winner gets his first title.

Though perhaps the biggest feat so far this year that shows the potential in Castroneves is his ability to fight back from adversity. After coming up just shy of the winning the Indianapolis 500, the disappointment was evident in Castroneves’ behavior. Rather than let that bother him moving forward, Castroneves has put together a fifth, a win and an eighth in the races that followed.

“We were able to compose ourselves, come back here and focus,” he commented a couple weeks ago. “We are not playing around.  I’m very confident with my team.”

Castroneves has been a fixture in the championship picture over the course of his career, but has yet to accomplish the necessary outcome. Three different times, he has finished in the runner-up position, missing the title by mere points.

Last year, he started off the year strong like he has this year- though saw his championship shot vanish following a poor showing in both Houston races late in the season. The 2008 season was perhaps his most consistent, yet a pair of finishes outside the top 13 mid-season resulted in coming up short.

Perhaps the pieces will come together as more experience under his belt could lead to dealing with the situations that arise over the course of a season better.

“I think I’m becoming wiser I guess with the age,” he commented. “But I’ve been able to pay attention in details that I haven’t seen before, able to work with engineers better than before.”

Though while Castroneves may have all the pieces to do it, he may find himeslf coming up short this season based on the strength that teammate Will Power has shown, even scoring strong finishes at places that that he wasn’t expected to (a second at Texas). Over the years, though, Power has had the same issue as Castroneves – putting together solid runs, though losing footing mid-season and seeing those chances vanish away.

Beyond the Team Penske perspective, there are also other drivers and teams that have shown speed this year who could contend, including this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay for Andretti Autosport and Simon Pagenaud for Schmidt Peterson Hamilton.

Over the course of the second half of the season, the key will be for Castroneves to stick to his guns, posting solid finishes and overcoming adversity in the best ways possible while not wrapping himself up with controversies.