Q and A: Helio CastronevesRacer-Turned-Reality TV Star Opens Up

“I voted for you,” one woman after the next told racecar driver Helio Castroneves at a publicity event in San Bernadino, California.

“Thank you. It helped,” the Dancing with the Stars champion—and three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500—kept saying.

Castroneves was in Southern California to promote the 2014 Indy Car season finale at the nearby Auto Club Speedway. But we wondered how many of the people greeting him knew nothing of his racing victories, their familiarity coming instead from the TV successes, including most recently Celebrity Wife Swap.

Along with his genuine classiness, we noted his accessories: the unexpected Chanel sunglasses, the rambunctious Lapitza Oryx watch (with a bezel resembling a brake rotor), and the ring earned in 2001, his first Indy victory, when he famously climbed the catch fence in celebration. We asked Castroneves a few questions about events in his recent career and his apparent penchant for fashion.

Q.  How disappointing was it to miss your fourth win at the 2014 Indy 500 by just six-one hundredths of a second?

A. It was tough. But you can’t be disappointed, because the performance still ended up being very good. It was a great race, very competitive. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our day to get the fourth. So, hopefully, we can come back next year and make it happen.

Q. Other famous drivers like Ken Block and Brian Deegan have their own clothing labels. Do you ever think about doing something like that?

A. Yes, why not? You’ve got to find the right partner to start building that, to be in the right direction. Clothing is something that needs to be personal and comfortable. So you’ve got to find the people that understand the marketing. I cannot just go out there and say, “Hey, use Castroneves’ clothing.” If that happens, the opportunity opens up, of course you should look at it.

Q. When you’re out of your racing uniform, what do you wear?

A. It depends. We’re sponsored by Puma. I love the sportswear that Puma does for us (Team Penske). Normally, Hugo Boss, it’s my style. That’s the type of things I like, the clothing  I like.

Q. Without looking down, describe your shoes.

A. It’s funny. I designed them with the folks from Nike when I was doing Dancing with the Stars (the second time, in 2012). They were able to put on my daughter’s name, Mikaella, and mine.


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