Being there that day I think is what sets it apart for me. To be able to feel the temps (pushing 80) and how the sun was beating down on the track, and to see drivers struggle with the conditions and the tense looks form on their faces as the day went on, it was obvious that this was a tough day for everyone involved.
That's what makes what Helio did so epic, and put in two of the most impressive qualifying runs I have ever seen.
|Helio waits for his ride!|
With the track probably at its absolute worst, Helio pumped out a first lap of 227.319 mph and finished with a four-lap average of 226.774 to jump ahead of Tagliani in the standings.
But he wasn't finished. Ninety minutes later he brought the place to its feet when he opened the shootout by turning his first two laps above 228, the two fastest laps of the entire month, before pushing his average to 227.970.
In the end the shootout became very interesting, with Will Power, Dario Fanchitti and Tagliani giving it good efforts. While Power eventually got within four-tenths of a second from bumping Castroneves out of the top spot, it came later in the session as the track got cooler and everyone's speeds began improving.
Helio's two runs, when they counted the most, came when the track was just dreadful. Some days the car does much of the work, and other days it's up to the driver. Pole Day was definitely one of the latter, and Castroneves was up to the task.