Helio's Road To Redemption

TCorrespondent IIIMay 18, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 07: Helio Castroneves drives his #3 Team Penske Dallara Honda during practice for the IRL IndyCar Series 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 7, 2009 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

There was no light at the end of the tunnel for Helio Castroneves in his biggest race of his life; fighting tax evasion charges that could have put an end to his racing career. 

For the ultra optimistic Brazilian, it was hard to keep that trademark grin and lively personality going when his life was put into the hands of twelve strangers on a jury.  However, the popular Indycar series driver has made it through unscathed with his sights set on the one thing he knows how to do, race.

The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner is back in his element. The start of his road to redemption came on Pole Day when he snatched Team Penske's 15th Indianapolis 500 pole, an accomplishment which looked in doubt two months prior.

Castroneves' story is one of great triumph coupled with tribulation, which depending on the outcome of the May 24 race, could rebound to an even greater triumph, a third Indianapolis 500 victory. 

For now, Castroneves is sitting pretty as the driver to beat on race day. There is no doubt about his drive and determination that brought him to this point. To stare uncertainty in the face and come out victorious is one of the true marks of a champion.  Castroneves is renowned for his spirit on the track, but his resilient spirit in life is what makes him a unique person. 

A lesser man would give in and let the pressure swallow him up; never to be heard from again. Not Helio.

500 miles is a long way to hold on to a chance at victory at Indianapolis. Castroneves has come a lot further than that to even have a shot at the ultimate prize.