IndyCar Championship Contenders Bring Style & Speed to Californias Auto Club Speedway
Racing is fashion, says Helio Castroneves, one of three drivers contending for the coveted series championship heading into the seasons final race at Auto Club Speedway. Its super cool, its sexy, its fast. The Brazilian is looking the part in aviator sunglasses and a LAPIZTA racing watch as he, along with Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, gather at The Grove in Los Angeles.
Just outside the press area, Castroneves car is drawing a crowd. Despite the three-time Indy 500 champs 22 career wins, hes still chasing his first series title, something he hopes to achieve this weekend.
Over the past several years, the Brazilian became a household name thanks to starring roles on Dancing with the Stars and Wife Swap. But what few fans realize is how committed he is to style. Castroneves has been long associated with Hugo Boss, and he jumps at the chance to talk about the Lapitza L21 series watch on his wrist. The case is like the brake disc of a racing car, and the inside is like the exhaust pipes, with a carbon fiber look. Its the perfect racing watch.
Not to be outdone, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud who won Grand Prix races in Indianapolis and Houston this year has a sport watch deal of his own with B.R.M. The French-made 44mm bushed stainless steel and black timepiece features automatic movement, a tachymeter and sapphire glass front and backing. It is the lightest mechanism in the world – only 49 grams, he says excitedly. I just find it fascinating that you can make a watch that is so reliable, light and technical.
Pagenaud takes his role as a style ambassador seriously.
Style aside, winning is foremost on the three drivers minds. Australian Will Power, whose 21 wins over the past six years has placed him among racings elite, finished second in the championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Heading into the final race of the season, he finds himself leading the points yet again, with Castroneves and Pagenaud both looking to unseat him
Power knows all too well how easy it would be for the championship to be snatched from him once again. I think IndyCar has the best racing in the world. Right now, youve got the toughest group of drivers and teams ever in IndyCar history.”
Give IndyCar officials full credit for making the championship go right down to the wire. Without the new system that awards double win points to the series three 500-mile races the Indy 500, the Pocono 500 and the MavTV 500 the championship would be all but decided already. Thanks to the system, instead of 50 points going to the winner, Saturday’s victor will receive 100.
The move has been controversial with drivers.
If Im going to be honest, I wasnt too excited about it, says Pagenaud. It cheapens the other races. But it has given me a chance. I feel like its down to the wire in the last race, and it makes it exciting for the fans. You can expect anything to happen on Saturday night.
One thing is for sure, though Will Power wont be playing it safe this weekend. I get a lot of abuse on Twitter for being aggressive in the races. But Im going to be aggressive. I want to win.”