Q&A: Helio Castroneves
Posted: Thursday December 6, 2007 12:42PM; Updated: Thursday December 6, 2007 7:51PM
Last week SI writer Richard Deitsch interviewed Helio Castroneves for the magazine's Q&A. The two-time Indianapolis 500 champion from Brazil recently won ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Here are additional excerpts from their conversation:
SI: Congrats on the victory, champ.
Castroneves: Thank you so much. A champion is a champion. It doesn't matter if it's at Indy or dancing.
SI: Does beating Marie Osmond give you as much pleasure as beating Dario Franchitti?
Castroneves: It's a little bit different, of course. But it does give you a sweet taste in your mouth.
SI: Where does the Dancing with Stars trophy go?
Castroneves: I swear to God, when I said it would go right between the two Indianapolis 500 trophies, I meant it. The meaning is different, but the point is when I look at these trophies, I know that when I put my heart and soul and mind and hard work into something, I know I can do it.
SI: Can you use this win as a business opportunity?
Castroneves: Absolutely. The businesses that I have in Brazil -- franchises of Burger King and auto dealerships -- it's a shame that they did not broadcast Dancing With The Stars there. But here in America I am looking in the same direction. What I'm shocked about is the amount of publicity and audience this show has produced. I walk the streets and people recognize me and say, Congrats. It's insane. This is an unbelievable opportunity and I will try to take advantage of it in terms of business.
SI: Will you get into clothing, merchandise, food?
Castroneves: Probably [auto] dealerships. I have a perfect coach in [team owner] Roger Penske. He is the king of dealership.
SI: Why did you want to do this show?
Castroneves: It was a challenge. But it started when Apollo [Ohno] stopped in Indianapolis to visit me. We're good friends. He said, "Hey, man, this is fun. It's hard work, but it's fun." So why not do it. Obviously, I had to get permission from my team, but we thought it was a family show and it was positive, The only bad thing would have been if I was a bad dancer, I would have been voted off first. That would have sucked.
SI: Are you being followed by paparazzi now?
Castroneves: So far its OK, but I haven't been at my house in Miami much. My secretary said there were some people around. That will be interesting. But, hey, if they come by, I'll give them bread and juice and welcome them in.
SI: Rate Mark Cuban as a dancer?
Castroneves: He surprised me a lot. I thought he was going to be horrible. But he was having fun. Hey, he went to Week 6.
SI: Who's the most famous person in your cell phone?
Castroneves: Wayne Newton.