Couldn't Write a Better Story, Castroneves Wins Third Indy 500

Mark RudiCorrespondent IMay 25, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 24:  Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Team Penske Dallara Honda, celebrates winning the Indianapolis 500 by climbing the fence on May 24, 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

Everyone's been saying Hollywood couldn't write a script like this, and quite frankly, it couldn't.

Helio Castroneves, who just last month was acquitted from tax evasion charges, won his third Indianapolis 500 Sunday capping off a perfect month.

The story really got started just days after being in court. He came to Long Beach, CA Apr. 19 and finished seventh, followed by a second place finish at Kansas Apr. 26.

But who would have thought that after staring jail in the face, Castroneves would dominate the whole month of May and would be holding the Borg-Warner Trophy in Victory Lane?

From the time the No. 3 Penske Racing machine came off the truck Castroneves was fast. He was fast in practice, won the pole and his team won the pit stop competition.

Castroneves would take the lead from 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon on lap 142 and never looked back from there.

He won by a margin of 1.98 seconds with Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick trying to catch him, but no body was catching Castroneves on this day.

Castroneves crossed the finish line and parked his car on the front stretch to perform his signature climbing of the fence. A move, which gave him the nickname "Spiderman" and led to NASCAR's Tony Stewart rendering of the move.

Once in Victory Lane, Castroneves let his emotions go. A tearful Castroneves didn't know to what to say to ABC's Jack Arute, but collected his thoughts and realized he'd won the Super Bowl of IndyCar racing for a third time and drank the goat's milk, followed by pouring it all over himself.

Castroneves was also joined by his mother, sister, father and girlfriend in Victory Lane and on the parade lap after the race. Castroneves' sister was also accused of tax evasion. She is Castroneves' business manager.

Castroneves became the ninth driver to win three or more Indy 500s and joins an elite club that includes A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Johnny Rutherford.

Because of his age, 34, and he drives for one of the elite teams in IndyCar racing, Castroneves could join Foyt, Mears and Al Unser as the only drivers to win four 500s and could become the only driver to win five.

Castroneves now has jumped to second in the point standings and is only five points behind leader Dario Franchitti. Previous point leader Tony Kanaan dropped down to fifth in the championship standings, after a 27th place finish after wrecking on lap 98 in turn three.

We'll see if this momentum can keep up as the IndyCar Series heads to The Milwaukee Mile, a track where's he had little success at, for the ABC Supply Co. A.J. Foyt 225 Sunday.