A celebrity racer who’s gained fame recently on the TV show "Dancing with the Stars" was in Iowa today for the media tour for the second season of racing at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. Helio Castroneves won the dancing title — an experience he says was a grueling with hours of practice.
He says practice was six hours a day at the beginning, then it jump to eight hours a day and then jumped to what he called a "brutal" ten hours a day. Castroneves is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, but says the TV show gave him lots of new fame.
Castroneves says, "The funny thing is now, before doing the show I was a driver that can dance, and now I am a dancer that can drive." He says he wants to now turn that back around and drive again. Castroneves says he hopes the notoriety gained by the TV show will transfer over to racing.
He says 22 million people watched the show on Monday and Tuesday and they heard him called an Indy driver, and he hopes they now capture those fans for racing. Castroneves says his appearance on the TV show, Danika Patrick’s swimsuit pictures in Sports Illustrated, and the two Indy car leagues getting back together, should all improve the interest in Indy racing.
Castronaves says people who have never seen a race before will tune in to see what he is doing, or Danika is doing and he sees it as positive. Castroneves says the reunification of the two racing leagues is a great thing for everyone. He says there is no more Champ Car or IRL, there are just drivers and teams and equipments to be a great series once again like it was in the past.
Former NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace designed the track and says the second season will be much better than the first. Wallace says" We looked at all the mistakes we made last year, whether it was parking, or whether it was the way that cars got into the racetrack, or the dates, things like that and tried to make it better and better and better."
Wallace says some of the key changes will be made to the cars that race in the spotlight event, the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Wallace says the racing was good, but not exactly what they expected as all the downforce kept the cars from doing a lot of passing. He says Firestone and the Indy Racing League came to Newton and did some indepth tests and have come up with a package to make the racing better.
The season at Newton opens April 19th, the Iowa Corn 250 is June 22. For a complete season schedule, check the Iowa Speedway website ..