On March 21, 2012, Helio Castroneves, 37, IndyCar driver and 3 times Indy 500 winner visited the Shell station located on US Highway 19 N, in Pinellas Park; he greeted fans and endorsed a new premium Shell product. “Shell is our primary sponsor in St. Pete, and we’re promoting the new Shell-V Power. It has 20% more nitrogen enriched fuel,” he said. Team Penske seems confident the Shell product will provide the optimum in quality and allow for another successful year during the six-month series.

 

Helio has found the ability to realize his dreams. “I came to America in 1996, and as they say, it’s the land of opportunity, and I agree. I really love this country.” He said graciously. Currently, he resides in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with his family.

 

A native of Brazil, this charismatic, energetic, heartthrob, on and off the racing circuit, has begun his 13th season of the IZOD 2012 racing series with a new car, a new attitude and is out to conquer a feat that only 3 other race car champions has accomplished. He is determined to win a Championship this year with help from sponsors like Shell, his Pit crew and of course, the ultimate driving machine, his No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra Dallara/Chevrolet. Helio is eager to tie the record for a fourth IndyCar win – claiming his victory.

 

Generous surprises of free fill-ups, gas cards and tickets to the 1st race of the 2012 Season were given away in a sweepstakes, and just as important, premium grade gas was pumped by the IndyCar driver and 2007 ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Mirror Ball Trophy winner – all the while free-flow chatting with Shell customers.

 

In conjunction with celebrating the new season, a new car and a fresh outlook, the meet and greet was an opportunity for this avid sportsman to share time with his loyal fans “It’s the first race of the season, everyone is fresh.

His enthusiasm was well received as was his giant infectious smile. Helio’s optimism is unsurpassed, evidenced by the apparent admiration from his diehard fan base. “This is me, I love to be in touch with the fans because I am a big fan of a lot of sports and I go to cheer for the team (if it’s not the person), so I try to give back in the same way. I love being close to everyone.”

 

Racing isn’t purely a man’s sport anymore; it has an appeal to women as well, perhaps it’s the allure of fast, ultra powered cars, the need for speed, or simply the racing action that takes place on the track.

 

Away from the track, as he explains, life is incorporated as a whole. “Helio said, “Racing is a part of my life and my family is part of my life as well, so for us it’s kind of like, we just need to learn and adapt to living our life. I think my little girl (age 2) loves it because every time we’re at the races she loves that environment; and not only that, when we’re away from racing if she see’s anything related to it she says, ‘Ah, Daddy’.”

 

Helio’s desire to race came from his Dad. “My dad never raced, but he loved racing: with that, his passion for racing rubbed off. We were never competitive against each other, he was right beside me and he never told me what to do, but steered me in the right direction. For me, it was great to learn – I’m still learning, but that’s the way I got the speed, I would say.”

 

This gentleman has the charm, personality, determination and courage of a superstar-action hero; although he doesn’t believe it. Nor did he think he could dance. It’s no wonder he is a fan favorite as an athlete; as a family man, as someone who loves a challenge; and for someone who has cultivated his refreshing down-to-earth persona.

 

When asked about his future goals. “Our goal is to win!” Whether he’s wearing a helmet in his Dallara/Chevrolet or doing the Cha-Cha, He’s the guy you want to root for in any competition.

If winning the Season Opener is any indication of what’s to come, then Helio is on a roll. Go Helio, Go!