Helio Castroneves was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 10, 1975. He began go-karting at a young age, and advanced to Formula Three auto racing by age 19. He eventually broke into the IndyCar circuit and went on to win the Indianapolis 500 three times. The racecar driver has also found success on the dance floor, winning the reality dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars.
Racecar driver and reality television star Helio Castroneves was born on May 10, 1975 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to parents Helio Castroneves Sr. and Sandra Castroneves. Castroneves's father exposed him and his older sister, Kati, to racing at a young age. Castroneves Sr. was an auto dealer in Sao Paulo and owned a stock racing team. Young Castroneves began go-kart racing when he was a small boy, and won a national go-kart title by the time he was a teenager.
In 1994, a 19-year-old Castroneves advanced to Formula Three auto racing in Europe. His skill caught the attention of fellow Brazilian racecar driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi. Fattipaldi helped Castroneves break into the Championship Auto Racing Teams IndyCar circuit in 1998. A year later, Castroneves signed with one of the top IndyCar teams, Penske Racing, and became one of the team’s most dominant drivers by age 26.
Castroneves competed in his first Indianapolis 500 in 2001, and won. The rookie edged out fellow Panske teammate Gil de Ferran. Castroneves was the eighth rookie to ever win the historic race. A year later, he won the Indy500 for a second time, becoming the first driver in more than 30 years and the youngest in history to win consecutively. Seven years later, he accomplished the feat once again, joining an elite club of only nine other drives to win a third Indy500.
Castroneves has held the IRL IndyCar Series records for the most Top 10 finishes, poles and consecutive seasons with a race win.
The competitive athlete has found success on both the racetrack and the dance floor. Castroneves competed on the fifth season of ABC's reality dance-competition show, Dancing with the Stars, and, with partner Julianne Hough, won first place and took home the program’s coveted mirror ball trophy. Castroneves was so popular with fans that he was invited back to the show to complete on season 15 of the series, Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars (2012), this time alongside partner Chelsie Hightower.
On October 3, 2008, Castroneves pleaded not guilty to a seven-count U.S. federal tax-evasion indictment, which alleged that the racecar driver helped create a Panama-based shell company with the intention of avoiding paying taxes on $5.5 million in income. His sister, Kati, and attorney Alan R. Miller were also accused of conspiring to conceal the money in offshore accounts between 1999 and 2004. On April 17, 2009, Castroneves was acquitted on six counts, but the jury was hung on one count of conspiracy. One month later, on May 22, 2009, prosecutors dropped the remaining conspiracy charge.
Castroneves remains extremely close to his sister, Kati Castroneves. She works as her brother’s business manager and is present at all of his races. Castroneves refers to her as his best friend.
Castroneves currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his girlfriend, Adriana Henao, and their daughter, Mikaella.
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