INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A shot at history was on the line in 2003 as Helio Castroneves looked to remain perfect at Indy and win his third straight 500.
Castroneves started on the pole, and led 58 laps on the day, but was passed on lap 169 by Penske teammate Gil de Ferran. After a caution for a Dan Wheldon crash, the race went green with six laps to go and de Ferran leading Castroneves.
As the white flag came out, Castroneves tried to close the gap, but de Ferran was too strong and won his first and only Indy 500.
The win was the 13th at Indy for team owner Roger Penske, and Penske’s third straight 500 victory.
After a victory lap around the Speedway, de Ferran came into victory lane full of emotion and the excitement showed as he climbed out of the car, letting out a huge scream.
“It’s hard to describe in words what I’m feeling right now,” de Ferran said. “It’s such an unbelievable moment for me. You always dream of winning a race like this and saying something smart, but I’m afraid words escape me right now. It’s just unbelievable.”
de Ferran would go on to win two more races that year and finish second in the championship, before retiring at the end of the season.