By on June 1, 2021

Jonathan Weiss/

I’m not doing a detailed Indy 500 recap this year because the race, while certainly not boring, was a bit bereft of drama. Not totally bereft — Helio Castroneves’ win was thrilling, especially since he spent the final portion of the race in a shootout in order to take the checkered flag — but it was clean and quick, and not a soap opera on wheels. This is a good thing.

Sure, there were pit-road spins and Graham Rahal knows how it feels when the wheels fall off, but the race was mostly crash-free. Eventual winner Castroneves worked his way toward the front and got into a duel with Alex Palou for the win. The win put Castroneves into the four-time winner club. And we can’t help but think we had a small part in his victory.

We, by which I mean myself, profiled Castroneves and his work with Acura on IMSA DPI cars in 2019, exploring how testing cars in between races might help lead to victory on race day. Now, almost two years later, Castroneves is in a very exclusive club.

Coincidence? We think not.

OK, OK, fine. He didn’t win because of us. I just wanted to write a quick post on Indy and have a bit of fun with it, and toot our own horn a bit in the process. It’s my blog and I’ll be goofy if I want to.

Sunday’s race really was a fun one to watch, not least because it was over quickly and I could go about my holiday weekend sooner. Crashes may make for spectacle, and we all can enjoy them guilt-free when a driver walks away unharmed, but I don’t watch for the wrecks. A clean race is a joy to watch, even if it removes some of the drama that accompanies the attrition that would occur in an incident-marred event.

Yes, the drama in a clean race becomes about pit strategy, and that doesn’t translate well to TV, but it’s fun to talk about. Of course, one hopes for a shootout between the top contenders to spice things up, and that’s what happened over the final quarter of the race.

One of the most popular drivers making history was just icing on the cake.

So, no, Helio didn’t win because of us. But hey, if we can help any already hugely successful and popular driver win a big one two years after a relatively mundane media obligation and interview, we’re happy to do so.

[Image: Jonathan Weiss/]

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3 Comments on “Did Helio Castroneves Win Indy Because of TTAC?...”

  • avatar

    As soon as Rahal left the pits I told my wife the wheel wasn’t secure and they should recall him. You could clearly see the left rear guy go to put the gun on the hub again only to watch the car pull away. I think he knew the nut wasn’t torqued down. Could have been really bad, in the end the tire just bounced off Daily’s nose.

    Overall it was a good race as the early caution completely messed up several favorites (Dixon and Rossi) strategies. It was a touch boring since it became a fuel strategy race with nobody really pushing hard. However having only 2 or 3 cars a lap down at the end meant half the field had a shot at winning. It was almost like a 3 stage race that cycled thru various groups of 5 or so drivers that had the pace to catch and pass. This is what makes Indy so much better then F1, you never know who is going to win week after week. While Helio is obvious the modern 500 master with 4 wins he is currently driving for a smaller team that had never won any Indy race before much less the crown jewel of the 500. He started mid-pack and kept in touch with the lead group all day. Once he caught Palou it was over, he was just toying with him on those last few laps to ensure he could reach the checkers in first.

    Worse part of the race: too many commercials and the extra commentators. Just give us the main 3 guys who cover Indy every weekend and let those other talking heads handle pre / post race. Having Dancia and Johnson give their 2 cents after each commercial break was worthless. They offered zero insight.

    I was at the 101st running… it is a bucket list event to attend for sure. The size of the place, the number of people and the speed of the cars is crazy. The fact that the track is in a residential area gives it this small town vibe despite being one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

  • avatar

    Penske gets his dues. Typical dump job by roger in favor of the latest hot shot kid. Penske is on a downhill slide. Did you see his monotone intro with his saggy jowls at the start of the race? People are a disposable commodity to him.

  • avatar

    What caused Rahal’s wheel to come off?

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