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Dancing His Way into Indy History



    Dancing His Way into Indy History
    Getty Images
    Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Team Penske Dallara Honda, celebrates his victory with his pit crew and team during the IRL IndyCar Series 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500.

    Right now, life for Helio Castroneves couldn't be any better.

    "Basically for me, my entire life, I've been a race car driver. So that's what I've been doing," said Castroneves.

    At the young age of 34, the Brazilian-born race car driver has already won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 an impressive three times.

    "The racer world for me, it's my safety net," said Castroneves. "I know when I go back there, I'm safe."

    Last Call with Helio Castroneves

    [DFW] Last Call with Helio Castroneves
    One of the fastest men on 4-wheels talks racing, Dancing With the Stars and Dallas with James Chippendale. (still images AP/Getty images)
    (Published Thursday, July 8, 2010)

    "But you've got to try now -- you've got to try, obviously in a moderate way," he said. "I'm not going to go all crazy, not to be a maniac or anything like that. But you know, if it's good for you, you are going to create your new experience, and things like that I think you should try."

    He's been acquitted of tax-evasion charges and has probably made an even bigger name for himself with mainstream audiences by competing in and winning "Dancing With the Stars" in 2007.

    "The guy that put me in that situation was Apolo Ohno, which was the previous "Dancing With the Stars" champion," said Castroneves.

    He credits his partner, Julianne Hough, with his success on the show.

    But now, people now expect him to be a great dancer, he said.

    "It's tough when the ladies (say), 'I want to dance with you,' and I don't know -- I don't have a Julianne with me," said Castroneves. "But it was a great experience and (one) that for me, I will never forget."

    Being a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars," also helped Castroneves step out of his element just a bit.

    "Sometimes we think, we always say, 'No,' as soon as we see something," said Castroneves. "For example, Julianne was doing the mambo, start shaking and I was like, 'Ha, ha, there is no way I'm going to be doing that.' So you limit yourself just by saying, 'No way.' But all of a sudden, look at what I did."

    We recently caught up with Castroneves at Stephen Pyles restaurant in downtown Dallas.

    "I was just walking into the restaurant, I was like, 'Look at this, this is kind of like Miami-style,'" said Castroneves.

    He's also seen a lot of success at Texas Motor Speedway, just recently winning the Bombardier Learjet 550 on June 6.

    And what's next for the man who drives the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara Honda?

    "What's next for me? I don't know, I think it's build a family," said Castroneves. "You know, I'm 34 now, and I think you've got to have balance. Many times already, balancing life, you can't be doing all of those things without having a good support behind you."

    For more on James Chippendale, the host of "Last Call," and his Love, Hope, Strength Foundation, click here.