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Brazilians in Brazil: Helio’s six-pack of struggles

Apr 30, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

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Helio Castroneves has made six prior IndyCar starts in Brazil: three in the CART era from 1998 through 2000 on the old Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway oval in Rio, and three in Sao Paulo since IndyCar’s return in 2010.

He’s never really hit the jackpot from a results standpoint.

The younger, then hyphenated Castro-Neves, failed to finish all three of his starts in CART. An engine failure sidelined him in his rookie year of 1998, with turbo and gearbox failures happening in the next two years.

A nondescript start and finish of ninth kicked off his Sao Paulo run, before being caught up in an accident with countryman Tony Kanaan in 2011 and ending 21st. Castroneves improved from 18th to fourth a year ago for his best race through the streets of Sao Paulo to this point.

The IndyCar series points leader could bank a nice result for additional momentum heading into the month of May in Indianapolis. After two races in AAA and “Turbo” livery, Castroneves returns to the Hitachi colors as raced at St. Petersburg this weekend.