This time, Helio Castroneves vows to collect a souvenir Race Day ticket to the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge just like the fans who will cheer him on in the 106th Running on Sunday, May 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Surprisingly, the reigning winner of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” said he has never received – or at least kept – a souvenir ticket bearing his likeness in the year following his victories in 2001, 2002 and 2009. But now as a rare four-time winner, he figures it is time to showcase one of the most coveted keepsakes in sports.
“I know how much it means to the fans to have that small piece of history for that year,” said Castroneves, who said he has signed many of those race tickets over the years. “That’s part of why Indianapolis is so incredible because everyone has a chance to be part of it.”
The honor of the winning driver featured on the next year’s “500” ticket dates to Mauri Rose’s appearance in 1948.
Castroneves was presented Thursday with tickets from each of the previous three years he was featured as part of the official 2022 ticket unveiling at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The tickets were provided by the IMS Ticket Office and longtime “500” fan Matt Converset of Decatur, Indiana.
Thursday’s 2022 ticket unveiling was held in front of a live audience at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show. Castroneves, who won this year’s race driving the pink-and-black No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda of Meyer Shank Racing, got his first look at the design of IMS Art Director Mandy Walsh.
“Thank you to everyone,” Castroneves said. “This is so special, so much a part of history.”
The artistic shot taken by IMS Photo Operations Manager Chris Owens shows Castroneves with the symbols of his record-tying “500” victory: Four fingers raised, the traditional winner’s wreath, the Borg-Warner Trophy and a portion of his winning car in the background. In his previous images, Castroneves is raising the ceremonial bottle of milk in victory lane.
“Every time you (see the ticket), it brings you memories that we did something remarkable,” Castroneves said.
Tickets featuring the historic image will be mailed soon to fans in all 50 states and countries worldwide as IMS prepares to welcome a full capacity of fans “Back Home Again” next May.
The unveiling of the ticket is one of many upcoming reminders that the homecoming is coming quickly – in just 171 days. Castroneves is still to see his likeness on the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy, which he considers a chance to evaluate “how I am looking now,” he said, laughing.
Castroneves said his favorite Indy tradition is receiving the winner’s ring, made by Jostens.
“That’s something that I look at every day,” he said. “It makes me wake up with a smile on my face and (reminding me I’m going) back again to fight for it.
“As soon as they put that ring on my finger, I say it’s never coming off. In fact, this year I told (team co-owner) Mike Shank, ‘Mike, the only way you’re getting this ring is if you cut off my finger, and I don’t think you want a driver with four fingers driving next year.’
“It fits perfectly. No adjustments.”
Tickets for the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and all Month of May activities are on sale at IMS.com, by calling the IMS Ticket Office at 317-492-6700 or by visiting the Ticket Office.