July 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Helio Castroneves To Start on Pole After Record-Setting Performance

Helio Castroneves.
Helio Castroneves.

Brazilian Helio Castroneves will start from the pole in today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar Series race, hoping for a distant replay of the 2001 race which he won from the pole.

Castroneves won the pole Saturday by completing a lap of the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center in a course record 1 minute, 6.294 seconds (106.331), breaking the previous record of 1:06.7442 set about a half-hour earlier by fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan.

“The team worked really hard because we changed everything in the car last night so congratulations to them,” Castroneves said Saturday after winning the pole in an IndyCar race for the 42nd time, fourth on the all-time list.

“It was not pretty last night, but it proved that we were able to keep pushing. When you get the pole position with the teammates I have, its actually pretty cool. The car is awesome, so we have to keep pushing.”

The 39-year-old Castroneves is a three-time Indianapolis 500, most recently in 2009, and the fall 2007 “Dancing with the Stars” champion.

Before Saturday, the record on the 1.968-mile configuration, which was implemented in 2000, was 1:06.886, set in 2006 by Sebastien Bourdais in 2006. Bourdais went on to win the race.

Castroneves’ Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia will start alongside Castroneves. Montoya’s qualifying time of 1:06.6587 was also better than the record time entering Saturday’s qualifying.

Scott Dixon of New Zealand will start on the inside of row two, while American Ryan Hunter-Reay, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, will start on the outside.

Another “Dancing with the Stars” champion also found success at the Grand Prix Saturday.

Alfonso Ribeiro, the fall 2014 “Dancing with the Stars” champion, won the Pro/Celebrity Race, overcoming a more than 30-second deficit for his third victory.

Ribeiro, best known for his co-starring role in the 1990-96 NBC comedy “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” had the best qualifying time Friday, but the race’s rules call for the professionals to start 30 seconds behind the celebrities.

Ribeiro was classified as a professional because of his wins in 1994 and 1995.

Ribeiro started 14th in the 18-car field, but needed just four laps to pass actor Joshua Morrow to take the lead and remained in front for the remainder of the 10-lap race.

Ribeiro completed the race in 18 minutes, 5.495 seconds, 15.822 seconds ahead of runner-up Dave Pasant, a retired insurance executive who won a spot in the field by being the top bidder in an auction benefiting the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach.

Morrow, who started on the pole, was in second with one turn remaining when Pasant’s car tapped his back bumper, causing Morrow to lose control and finish 10th.

Morrow portrays Nicolas Newman on the CBS daytime drama “The Young and The Restless.”

Nathan Kress, a co-star on the 2007-12 Nickelodeon comedy “iCarly,” finished third, followed by television personality Rutledge Wood and Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Dara Torres.

Wood and Torres were both classified as a professionals because of their previous victories. Torres started last in the 18-car field.

All the drivers drove 210-horsepower Scion FR-6 cars.

Toyota will donate $5,000 to Racing for Kids, a national nonprofit program benefiting children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County, in the name of each of the 18 drivers, and another $5,000 to Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, the charity designated by Ribeiro before the race.

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts is a Carlsbad-based national nonprofit program providing reconstructive surgery and related health care services for infants, children and teenagers with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents or abuse.

 

in Sports
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