Old guys continue to rule! Fueled by the largest in-person crowd since the start of the pandemic, Helio Castroneves won his fourth Indy 500 race on Sunday at the age of 46.
135,000 fans attended the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which was a sold-out, 40% capacity crowd. It was the largest number of fans present for an in-person event since the shutdowns began in March 2020.
“I love Indianapolis! You guys don’t understand it! The fans, you give me energy,” Castroneves said, feeding off the electricity at the racetrack.
His victory in 2021 marks his first Indy 500 win since 2009. Castroneves has been a celebrated veteran in the sport for over two decades, collecting Indy 500 victories in 2001, 2003, and 2009. His four wins in Indianapolis tie the all-time record number with A. J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr., and Rick Mears.
“It means a lot,” Castroneves said reflecting on a long career in racing. “I’ve been in the sport for a long time, and I hope I have more friends than actual enemies. And even those who don’t like me, I hope they understand that this is a very difficult place to achieve. And that meant we did something very special.”
Castroneves, 46, recognizes that his win puts him alongside other old timers like Tom Brady, who won yet another Super Bowl back in February, and Phil Mickelson, who set the record for the oldest PGA champ at 50 last Sunday.
“I don’t know if this is a good comparison, but Tom Brady won the Super Bowl and Phil Mickelson won the golf [PGA Championship], so here you go.”
Old guys continue to dominate sports leagues across America, without cutting the new generation of athletes any slack. Ask Castroneves, who concluded with one last bit of showboating: “The older guys are still kicking the younger guys’ butts.”