Helio Castroneves’ passion is part of what has made him one of the best IndyCar drivers of a generation.
Now, that emotion might have gotten the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion in trouble.
IndyCar Series officials are reviewing an incident involving Castroneves just after the checkered flag flew at Sunday’s race in Edmonton. Castroneves crossed the line first, but was penalized for blocking teammate Will Power on the final restart and Scott Dixon was declared the winner.
Enraged by the decision, the Brazilian driver bolted from his car after the race and started screaming at IndyCar officials, touching one on the chest and grabbing another by the collar. The second official, who was much bigger than the 5-foot-8, 147-pound driver, didn’t react to Castroneves, who was eventually pulled back.
"Although we do not agree to the penalty, there is no excuse for my actions after the checkered flag," he said. "I apologize to my team, our sponsors, the fans and the entire IZOD IndyCar Series community for my behavior. My actions were totally wrong and I acted inappropriately to some people who are my friends and people I respect very much. Obviously, I am a very emotional person and today I let my emotions get the better of me and I’m very sorry for that."
The incident happened with three laps to go after Simona De Silvestro drove off the course after running out of fuel. Power gunned to the outside of Castroneves and appeared to have a good enough run for the pass, but had to back off after Castroneves altered his line.