Brazil And The Indy 500

Brazil's Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500 for the fourth time in 2021
Brazil and the Indy 500: Sao Paulo's Helio Castroneves is the only active driver who can win an historic 5th Indy 500 race. Helio is the nephew of the legendary Bossa Nova guitarist, Oscar Castro-Neves.

No other nation has won the world’s most famous race more often than Brazil.

Brazil And The Indy 500: Four-time winner Helio Castroneves can make history as the only driver to win five times. Drivers, start your engines!

This series was presented by the Consulate-General of Brazil in Chicago and the Brazilian Foreign Ministry’s Cultural Department.

In celebration of Brazil’s Bicentennial year, 1822 – 2022

This week’s Brazilian Minute: Brazil And The Indy 500

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Catch up with other Brazilian Minute episodes you may have missed!

Script from Audio:

Memorial Day weekend means the Indy 500. And Brazil is a big part of its history.

Emerson Fittipaldi won in 1989 and 1993. Dozens followed: Nelson Piquet, Rubens Barrichello, 2003 winner Gil de Ferran, and 2013 winner Tony Kanaan.

But the top Brazilian at Indy is Helio Castroneves, who won as a rookie in 2001, 2002, and 2009 and then for a fourth time in 2021, making him the only active driver with a chance for five Indy 500 victories. That would be an all-time record.

The Indy 500 is always exciting, so be sure to watch and remember: Brazilians have won the Indy 500 more times than any other foreign country, making them very popular ambassadors of speed here in America!

Read and listen to new weekly episodes of The Brazilian Minute.

Brazil and The Indy 500: Salvador, Bahia’s Tony Kanaan won the race in 2013 and was the 2004 IndyCar Series champion. Kanaan is one of IndyCar’s most popular personalities (Photo 153686383 / © Walter Arce | Dreamstime).

More on: Brazil And The Indy 500

Overview: Helio Castroneves and The Drive For Five

Helio Castroneves’s historic 2021 Indy 500 win came at 230 mph on the last lap after a perfectly executed race. It made him a four-time winner of the most famous race in the world.

Only three drivers had won the Indy 500 four times: A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears. Mario Andretti won the Indy 500 once, falling into victory lane with a backup car.

Winning Indy three times is rare air, but Helio Castroneves had been stuck on that number for 12 long years. Bad luck. Poor strategy, accidents.

A Unique Challenge Awaits

Uniquely, Castroneves is the only active driver with a shot at more than four wins. And when he was released from Penske Racing, many thought that Helio’s time had passed him by. “If he couldn’t win with Penske…”

Consequently, Castroneves took an offer for a handful of races in 2021 (including the Indy 500) with a bootstrap team. He joined Meyer Shank Racing. Primarily, Helio started well, stayed out of trouble, and took the lead into the last lap to win.

“The other drivers were playing checkers while Helio was playing chess,” observed two-time winner Paul Tracy, who had his own Indy 500 history with Helio Castroneves.

What To Expect

This Memorial Day weekend, Helio Castroneves will compete for win #5 in the Indianapolis 500. If he can accomplish this feat, there is no doubt that Castroneves will be known as the race’s most successful driver in Indy 500 history. Forte! Boa Sorte!

Qualifying Update

Qualifying speeds for 2022’s field of 33 cars averaged 232 mph. Fastest pole run, fastest front row. But luck has a lot to do with success at the Indianapolis 500.

For Brazil’s two drivers, luck smiled on only one.

Tony Kanaan starts his 21st Indy 500 on the outside of row 2, while Helio Castroneves grids down in 27th place after weather conditions kept his car from reaching its potential.

After qualifying, Helio said, “I’ve been in this position before, so I think we’ll be okay. I started way down in the field in 2017 and I ended up contending for the win at the end. So, I think I know what to do.”

  • Helio Castroneves has been a great friend to Connect Brazil. Impressively, he has even co-hosted our weekly syndicated show, The Sounds of Brazil!

Tap or click here to learn more about Helio Castroneves.

How To Watch The Indy 500

Qualifying for the fastest 33 IndyCars happens this weekend, at 11 am ET on Saturday, May 21, and 4 pm ET Sunday on May 22 for Pole Day qualifying. Catch the action on NBC and Peacock.

The 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, May 29th. Coverage begins at 11 am ET on NBC.

Tap or click here to learn more about the Indy 500’s official website:

Brazil’s Indy 500 Racer Drivers

Here’s a list of Brazilian race car drivers who have competed in the Indianapolis 500.

Tap or click here to learn more about these drivers, including their bios:

  • Airton Dare
  • Gil de Ferran
  • Felipe Giaffone
  • Helio Castroneves
  • Roberto Guerrero
  • Ana Beatriz
  • Rubens Barrichello
  • Tony Kanaan
  • Roberto Moreno
  • Raul Boesel
  • Christian Fittipaldi
  • Emerson Fittipaldi
  • Pietro Fittipaldi
  • Luiz Garcia Jr.
  • Affonso Giaffone
  • Marco Greco
  • Bruno Junqueira
  • Raphael Matos
  • Vítor Meira
  • Felipe Nasr
  • Nelson Piquet
  • Gualter Salles
  • Pedro Diniz
  • Maurício Gugelmin
  • Matheus Leist
  • André Ribeiro
  • Gualter Salles

Music, Travel, Friends and Fun! 2022 marks Connect Brazil’s 25th year.

Brazil And The Indy 500

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Relive one of the greatest moments in the history of sports. A unique Brazilian American experience from the Midwest!