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Helio Castroneves kisses the "Baby Borg." (Michael Levitt Photo)

Helio Castroneves Receives “Baby Borg”

INDIANAPOLIS – Helio Castroneves received his fourth “Baby Borg” Friday night at Binkley’s Kitchen and Bar in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis. It’s his latest – and perhaps best – reward for winning the 105th Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 2021.
 
Team co-owners Michael Shank and Jim Meyer also received their “Baby Borgs” as the Indy 500 winning team owners in front of a raucous crowd of Meyer Shank Racing team members and guests.
 
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From left to right: Mike Shank, BorgWarner CEO Frederic Lissalde, Helio Castroneves, and Jim Meyer stand in front of the Borg Warner trophy. (Michael Levitt Photo)
 
It was the latest honor for the fourth, four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 in a little more than 24 hours. Last Thursday afternoon, Fourth Street at the corner of Hulman Boulevard inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was renamed Castroneves Drive. The site was chosen because it was “fourth street” and last year’s Indy 500 was Castroneves “fourth victory.”
 
“There should be no speed limit on Castroneves Drive,” the popular Brazilian quipped at the unveiling.
 
Later that night at the Hilbert Circle Theater in the city’s famed Monument Circle, Castroneves was honored at a private screening of “Pennzoil Presents ‘The Club.’ It was a documentary that featured the only recorded conversations between all four four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500 including AJ Foyt, the late Al Unser, Rick Mears, and Castroneves. “The Club” was filmed on July 21, 2021. Unser passed away after a 17-year battle with cancer on December 9, 2021.
 
“The Club” was shown on NBC before Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix telecast from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
 
On Friday, just two hours after qualifications were completed for the race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Castroneves and his team owners were honored by BorgWarner President and CEO Frederic Lissalde and Global Director of Marketing and Public Relations Michelle Collins with miniature Borg-Warner Trophies they get to keep.
 
“Presenting the Baby Borg and Championship Team Owner’s Trophy is always a momentous occasion,” Lissalde said. “While the driver’s legacy and Borg-Warner Trophy lives on forever, permanently on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the replica trophies are personal keepsakes that can be enjoyed by those that earn them for years to come.”
 
The Baby Borg was first created in 1988, with the Championship Team Owner’s Trophy established 10 years later.
 
“For Helio this is special and for the team owners this is very special,” Meyer said. “When Helio crossed the finish line, I asked, ‘Did we just win?’ I was told, ‘Yes, we won.’
 
“’Oh My God, we won the Indy 500.’”
 
Shank paid tribute to his team members and to his partner, Meyer.
 
“Jim and I are pretty Midwestern,” Shank said. “We dress in T-shirts. We drink beer out of cans. I don’t apologize for it, but that shows us what our drive is.”
 
Amid the tumult, Castroneves stood off to the side with his Baby Borg in his hand and admired the trophy and what it represented. In that brief moment, the four-time Indy 500 winner had shut out the noise of the moment for a personal reflection of his accomplishment.
 
“It’s so special what we did,” Castroneves told SPEED SPORT. “It’s a perfect way to start the month with the motivation to go out there and fight for it. When you have Mike and Jim here, they are so authentic. That is why I’m so proud to have them here to be part of this special day.
 
“This trophy is incredible. It’s an icon of Indianapolis. This is a special day to get No. 4 and be able to go for No. 5.”
 
Castroneves’ fourth Baby Borg will join two others on display at his home. His third Baby Borg that was presented to him after his victory in 2009 was given to his mother and father and is on display at their home in Brazil.
 
Castroneves was presented with a special prize by BorgWarner, a special framed poster featuring all four four-time Indy 500 winners signed by each driver, including the late Al Unser.
“I always looked up to those guys whenever I came to Indianapolis and today, I’m sitting with them,” he said. “It’s an example that dreams come true.
 
“What an incredible day it was last year and that is what makes Indianapolis so special,” Castroneves recalled. “I have a fantastic group of guys with Mike and Jim, and this is really, really special.”
 
The Trophy, also widely known as the ‘Baby Borg’, is a 19-inch miniature version of the iconic, 110-pound sterling silver Borg-Warner Trophy® with the winning driver’s sculpture on it. The Baby Borg weighs five pounds, rests on a cylindrical stained wooden base and is inscribed with the winner’s name, team name, average speed for 500 miles and year of his win.
 
“To remember what we did is incredible,” Castroneves said. “I may be the guy driving the car, but I could not do it without Mike and Jim and the guys on the team. The quality of people and the vision he had to hire an amazing group of guys and the passion they have for racing.
 
“That’s why we are here today to celebrate this amazing race.
 
“Not many people believed in us last year and we kicked ass. This year, people believe in us, and we are ready to whoop some ass as well.
 
“This is just the beginning.”
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