He’s headed to Sunday’s 98th Indy 500 but three-time champ and famed Brazilian racecar driver Helio Castroneves detoured through Bristol Tuesday for a pit stop at ESPN headquarters. Charming, polite and willing to talk a bit between shows at the sports broadcasting center, (unlike Hugh Jackman, who was also in the building) the 39-year-old sports legend, a “Dancing With the Stars” mirror ball winner, talked family, racing, dancing and a No. 4 win for #3.
A: Myself I guess. It’s never just one person you have to watch out for. I’m not worried about the others. We will do what we need to do and I think we are in very good shape.
Q: #3 is your car, but on Sunday you are starting in the number 4 position and you will be trying for your No. 4 Indy 500 victory. Will you change your #3 car to “4″ if you win?
A: No, I will keep the number because that is our car. But hopefully the number 4 will be special because it will mean the most wins for me at Indy.
Q: Do you have any good luck charms that go with you every time your race?
A: I do (pulling down his shirt collar to show off a gold chain around his neck.) I have a bunch of good luck charms for my protection on this gold necklace. Different saints. Each one helps me. I am a very religious person. My mother gave me most of them. She wanted me protected.
Q: You will be 40 next year. Have you accomplished all you set out to do?
A: That’s a good question. No, I haven’t. I think until we are done with life you are always learning more. There is always more to accomplish in life. You should never take anything for granted. We will go out there on Sunday like it is the first time we have ever raced.
Q: As a veteran “Dancing WithThe Stars” winner, any favorites this year?
A: I saw the semi-finals and I saw the beginning of the season but I have been traveling so much I haven’t watched every week. I was surprised Charlie (White) was eliminated. I am very glad I am not in it this season because, oh my goodness, everyone is so amazing. And Amy Purdy, she is special.
Q: You have a four-year-old daughter with your girlfriend, Adriana Henao. What’s it like being a dad?
A: It is the greatest thing in the world when it comes to balancing life. Sometimes you are upset with the little things and you go home and they become really small when you see your child.
Q: So when are you getting married?
A: You’re a straight shooter. I like that. Very soon I hope. I am waiting for her to say ‘yes.’
Q: What will we be hearing you say on Sunday?
A: I hope it will be that I am so happy to win the Indy 500 for the fourth time.