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2014 MAVTV 500 :: IZOD IndyCar Series Championships

 

: : : AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY IN FONTANA, CA : : :

~ Saturday, August 30, 2014 on NBC Sports ~

 

Helio Castroneves practices with the L.A. Galaxy soccer team in Carson, CA

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

IndyCar star Helio Castroneves (second from left) with L.A. Galaxy players Junino (No. 19), Marcelo Sarvas (No. 8) and Leonardo (No. 22).

 

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

|

CARSON, Calif. -- IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves made a stop at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on Aug. 6 to train with members of the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was in town to promote the upcoming MAVTV 500 season finale at the Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 30.

“It was fun, the goal is big,” said Castroneves in an exclusive interview. “Trust me, it’s hard to get in. It was my first time being here with the L.A. Galaxy. The players and the whole organization was really nice. You can see that everybody’s dedicated.”

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is seeking his first IndyCar championship and it could come this year. Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 AAA Chevrolet, is currently second in points standings.

“We’ve got to be in front of everyone make sure those guys in contention for the championship,” he added. “We’ve got to win and score another one on the board and hopefully that will lead us to this championship.”

What are your thoughts on the Auto Club Speedway?

“Well, it’s a tough track. Not only we’re going over 220 mph, we have several lines that you can choose plus it’s 500 miles, about three hours of racing. A lot of things can happen there and the most important one, it’s 100 points in the game. Even if the guy still 75 points behind, he still has a chance to win the championship.”

Several NASCAR drivers got flat tires and ran out of fresh tires last March at the track. Do you think a repave is necessary out there?

“It’s always a new track, it’s always good,” the Penske Racing driver explained. “It’s just like new tires. So if they’re considering, great. If they’re not, we’ve got to keep going.”

The IndyCar season is ending a little bit earlier this year – August instead of October. What are you going to do with the extra time off?

“I really wish I would have time off. But we’ll be testing because next year we have a new aero package plus the appearances we have with sponsors and we might start early next year. I want to stay home for at least a week. After that, play with my daughter and I’ll be good to go.”

I understand there is some talk of racing outside the United States next year. Would you enjoy that?

“So far, I understand Brazil and not sure about Dubai and other places like that. It looks like we might be able to go overseas. That would be great. Not only to go to a new place, but again show what Verizon IndyCar series is about competition. That would be great to show all of the people there.”

Outside of racing, what do you enjoy about southern California?

“The weather, isn’t the great?” Castroneves said. “People seem to be nice. You have a lot of cool stuff to do. Fortunately, we’re working and that takes my time.”

After speaking with Helio, I had the rare opportunity to sit in the back seat of a Honda 2-seater IndyCar.

Tickets for the MAVTV 500 weekend are still available and can be purchased online at AutoClubSpeedway.com.

Related Stories: Will Power wins the MAVTV 500; Scott Dixon named 2013 IndyCar champion; Hunter-Reay clinches first IndyCar championship; Carpenter wins MAVTV 500

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Helio bouncing the soccer ball on his knee

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Castroneves chatting with an L.A. Galaxy player

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Helio Castroneves close-up

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

He shared stories with his Galaxy counterparts

 

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