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May 2003

The Brazilian Six-Pack at Indy

There are six Brazilians in the spotlight this Sunday, May 25,
competing in 87th annual Indianapolis 500. They are Hélio Castroneves,
Tony Kanaan, Gil de Ferren, Felipe Giaffóne, Vitor Meira and
Airton Dare. Can Castroneves make history becoming the first
driver ever to win three consecutive Indy 500s?

Phillip Wagner

Hélio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Gil de Ferren, Felipe Giaffóne, Vitor Meira and Airton Dare will be competing in the 87th annual running of the world's largest single day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. More than 400,000 fans will be at the track to see Hélio attempt to become the first ever driver to win three consecutive Indy 500s.

Brazilians dominated in 2001, when they finished in five of the top seven spots, and in 2002, when they finished first, third and tenth. Five different Brazilians led last year's race at one time or another and each year a Brazilian was Fastest Rookie. Hélio's pit crew won the pre-race pit competition in 2002 and finished second this year. Hélio was the fastest qualifier this year, just edging out fellow Brazilian Tony Kakaan. Gil de Ferren will start from the tenth position. Vitor Meira, in his first start at the Indy 500, was the fastest qualifier with a Chevy engine.

The Brazilian "Need for Speed"

The "Boys from Brazil" are generating more excitement at the track than anyone in Indianapolis can remember seeing in many years. Their enthusiasm, professionalism, approachability, unassuming humility and speed are fantastic for the sport and giving Brazil a great image here in the U.S. Two former presidents, Muhammed Ali and many Hollywood celebrities will be on hand.

Don't miss this opportunity to share your Brazilian pride! Tune in to the race on national radio or on the ABC television network. West-coast fans will want to note the noon Indiana time start to the race, with ABC television pre-race coverage beginning an hour earlier. Invite some friends, fire up the grill and serve some ice-cold beer. If you're going to be at the race wear green and yellow and bring a Brazilian flag!


About the author: Phillip Wagner is a regular contributor and represents Brazzil at the track in Indianapolis. After recently taking a two lap run of the track in the 2003 pace car, where he entered the turns at 93 miles an hour, he says he can't imagine how "our guys" do it at twice that speed. Visit Phillip's site at http://www.iei.net/~pwagner/brazilhome.htm  and/or contact him at pwagner@iei.net