By Jim Peltz
9:59 AM PST, February 1, 2014
Helio Castroneves is a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 but there's one prize that's always eluded him: An IndyCar Series championship.
So the 38-year-old Brazilian who drives for Team Penske will try again this season.
"That's the goal, and [winning] the Indy 500 [again]," Castroneves said Friday during a visit to Yorba Linda, where he filmed a safe-driving commercial for auto-club sponsor AAA.
"Unfortunately [the title] escaped from our hands [last year] but what are you going to do?" Castroneves said. "It's over, it's yesterday's news."
Castroneves was poised to win the championship with three races left in the season. But he lost his point lead after his car had mechanical problems in a double-header in Houston.
Then, at the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, he was unable to close the gap on Scott Dixon, who won this third series title.
Castroneves said he expects to get additional help this year with input from his new teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, a former IndyCar, Formula One and NASCAR driver who is returning to IndyCar this season.
"I guarantee he's going to succeed," Castroneves said of Montoya. "He's going to be fast. He's committed."
But another rival won't be returning: Four-time series champion Dario Franchitti, who retired from his driving career after suffering serious injuries in one of the Houston races.
Castroneves said he would miss racing against Franchitti because "a strong competitor makes you better."
The IndyCar season opens March 30 with a street race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the second race is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13.
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