Click to view our fantastic subscription offers

Instant access to the F1 paddock

You have 5 views remaining

You have read 10 stories this month. After 15, you will need to register or subscribe.

Register with us for free to view 30 stories a month.

Or subscribe to AUTOSPORT+ for unlimited news stories and access to our exclusive subscriber-only content.

Our commitment to quality journalism

We've introduced metered access to AUTOSPORT which will ensure that the majority of our visitors can continue to view the site for free. But we think that is worth a small investment from those who use it most, so that we can continue to send the leading experts in their field to motor racing paddocks all over the world to break the latest news and produce the most compelling interviews and race reports.

Every visitor gets 15 free page views per month. Once you reach the limit you can register to get 30 views or choose one of our value-for-money subscription packages to continue viewing and to get additional access to a range of features including:

  • Unlimited access to AUTOSPORT with news and views from the paddock
  • Enjoy AUTOSPORT+: subscriber-only analysis, comment and top-quality pictures
  • Get AUTOSPORT magazine in a digital format on your computer or iPad every week
  • Full access to FORIX - the world's best motorsport statistics website

We greatly appreciate your continued support to keep AUTOSPORT at the forefront of motorsport coverage, and we look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber.


Glenn Freeman
AUTOSPORT.com Editor

autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN AUTOSPORT Plus  
Username:
Password:
INDYCAR NEWS 

Castroneves makes emotional return

Helio CastronevesHelio Castroneves delivered a triumphant and emotional return to racing in Long Beach this afternoon with some aggressive and quick practice laps followed by hugs, handshakes and tears.

"It feels like I just woke up from a nightmare," Castroneves said as he began to weep during a press conference. "I'm sorry. This has been very difficult time for me and my family."

On Friday Castroneves was acquitted of six tax evasion charges by a jury in Miami. The most serious charge of conspiracy deadlocked the jury, and it is considered unlikely that the Internal Revenue Service will attempt to pursue the case again.

Castroneves arrived in Long Beach late yesterday and was back in his familiar Penske Dallara-Honda on Saturday morning for practice, in which he was seventh fastest.

The Brazilian was overwhelmed by emotion as he began to address reporters alongside team owner Roger Penske and Penske Racing president Tim Cindric. He wept briefly before gathering himself and continuing. His sister, Kati, who also was acquitted of similar charges as Castroneves' business manager, also attended the press conference.

"I just want to hug everybody," Castroneves said. "It's incredible to be back in the car. The best place for me to heal and forget is right here."

Penske, who stood behind his star driver through the trial, said there was never any question about the team's support for Castroneves.

"Until he was proven guilty there was no reason not to support him," Penske said.

Castroneves remained after the press conference to answer more questions and accept congratulatory hugs from well-wishers.

"So many people sent prayers and messages," Castroneves said. "I never lost faith."

Castroneves was greeted heartily by Team Penske officials and crew members before today's practice session, and his radio transmissions during the practice session were giddy.

"After he got in the car he asked me, 'Is this a dream?'" said Cindric, who also serves as Castroneves' race strategist. "I said, 'No, it's reality. There are a lot of people watching, so don't stall it.'"

After the emotional start to the press conference, Castroneves' trademark humour surfaced: "I'm just glad to be hearing words like 'pit this lap.' I've had enough of 'objection,' 'sustained' and 'overruled.'"

Before the press conference, Castroneves and his sister huddled with Penske and exchanged hugs and congratulations.

"There's not a bad bone in his body," Penske said of Castroneves.

Subs
  More news  
    advertisement
  RELATED LINKS
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the autosport.com shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
  RELATED STORIES
Final Castroneves charge dropped
Power wants long-term Penske future
Johnson welcomes attorney's acquittal
Castroneves will race in Long Beach
Castroneves acquitted in tax trial
Castroneves still awaiting full verdict
Jury out in Castroneves' trial
Penske hope Castroneves will return
Power confirmed at Penske
Power set to fill Castroneves' seat
Penske will delay driver decision
Castroneves' trial date won't change
Castroneves' trial set for March 2009
Castroneves allowed to race at Surfers
Hornish 'thinking about' Castroneves
Johnson surprised by lawyer's charges
Castroneves pleads innocent in court
Castroneves charged with tax evasion
Haymarket