Foyt, Unser, and Mears.
For 30 years, these three have been part of one of the most sacred groups in auto racing: they're the only drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, and at every 500 since 2010, fans have anticipated a new member entering that group.
Their wait is now over, as today Helio Castroneves became part of that group by winning the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. He previously had won in 2001, 2002, and 2009.
I’ve literally grown up watching Castroneves’ pursuit of four Indy 500 wins, seeing the first when I was only 8 years old, and now 20 years later, seeing him claim his fourth.
In 2001, the racing world was still in shock from the death of Dale Earnhardt when Helio captured that first Indy 500, as fans around the globe were introduced to his victory celebration where Castroneves earned the moniker “Spiderman” for his penchant for climbing fences after race wins. I was eight years old at the time, and my dream was to work at The Virginian-Pilot.
In 2002, America was still reeling from the attacks of 9/11. I remember the pre-race being so much different, more patriotic, and more of a celebration that we had made it through the previous year. Helio won his second Indy 500 that year, and while few thought when he won his first that he'd have a chance at winning 4, after his second win more people believed that he had an outside shot. After all, Helio was only 25 when his won in 2002.