INDIANAPOLIS — When Scott Dixon made his North American open-wheel debut back in 2001 on the road course at Monterrey, Mexico, Helio Castroneves was there, already thriving in his fourth professional season.

When Simon Pagenaud arrived on the IndyCar Series scene at Barber Motorsports Park 10 years later, Castroneves was there, by then a three-time Indianapolis 500 champion.

When Josef Newgarden ran his first IndyCar race in 2012 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Castroneves was not only there, he won.

Throughout the past two decades, through the ups and downs of a sport colored by seemingly constant change in drivers, teams, cars, schedules and sponsors, Castroneves, 42, has been there, an ever-present figure in the Verizon IndyCar Series helping pave the way into the future.

Helio Castroneves, celebrating his 50th career pole, hopes to finally win his first season championship Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. (Mike DiNovo, USA TODAY Sports)

Now, however, it appears the end of the Castroneves era is at hand.

Heading into Sunday’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, Castroneves — a championship contender along with Newgarden, Dixon and Pagenaud — is on the precipice of his own finale as a fulltime series driver. Rumors of his move to Roger Penske’s reinvigorated sports car …read more

Source:: Usatoday – Sports

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