He may be one of the elder statesmen of the Verizon IndyCar Series, but Helio Castroneves isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The Team Penske driver broke his own track record today in winning a third straight Verizon P1 Award to start on pole position in Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
In the Firestone Fast Six, the third and final round of knockout qualifying, Castroneves pushed his No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course in a sizzling 1 minute, 6.2254 seconds (106.980 mph). It earned the 41-year-old Brazilian his third straight Long Beach pole and the 48th of his 20-year career, leaving Castroneves one behind fellow legend Bobby Unser for third on the all-time list.
“This competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s so incredible,” Castroneves said. “It’s ridiculous, plus every time you go into a session, it’s something different. The track changes, the tires change, traffic. It is absolutely very difficult. The crucial time when it comes, you see everybody hundredths of a second separated from each other.
“My car felt pretty good. Especially with the reds (Firestone alternate tires), my car came alive from this morning, so the AAA Chevy is working really hard.”