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Benched: Helio Castroneves on missing Detroit Grand Prix, Dancing with the Stars win

The 30-time Indycar winner has been racing virtually while isolating at home amid the coronavirus pandemic

DETROIT – The Indianapolis 500 automobile race was supposed to take place this weekend, but has been rescheduled to August due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It’s a race that driver Helio Castroneves has won three times -- and would have been racing for his record-tying fourth win on Sunday.

Instead, he is staying at home with his wife and daughter.

“I have a little girl, she’s ten, so we have been homeschooling,” Castroneves said. “My wife is the dictator. I’m the PE guy. So when it comes to exercising, I can help.”

While isolating at home during the pandemic, Castroneves has been dabbling in i-racing to keep himself sharp.

“I’ve never been a guy to play video games. We’ve been going back and forth with virtual racing," Castroneves said. "It’s growing on me. It’s not the real thing, though.”

The auto racing driver says he can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of an actual car.

In his legendary career Castroneves has 30 Indycar wins and is the longest-tenured driver on Team Penske. He is currently in his 21st season.

“I’m soon going to be wearing silver sneakers as they call me the old guy,” Castroneves said. “It’s fine, it’s good.”

While the Indy 500 was rescheduled, the Detroit Grand Prix was canceled altogether. The race will return next year -- which is good for Castroneves, who says it holds a special place in his heart.

The Detroit Grand Prix is where Castroneves got his first-ever IndyCar win. It’s also the place where he patented his “Spider Man” celebration, climbing the fence that surrounds the racetrack.

“I remember I was so excited I won the race,” Castroneves said. “I was crying, happy, screaming. I didn’t hear where the winners circle was. I looked to left, people were celebrating there. I decided to go join them. Turned out to be a great way to celebrate.”

Speaking of celebrations, Castroneves won ABC’s Dancing with the Stars 12 years ago -- and was more than happy to show off his Mirror Ball Trophy.

“It was extremely hard to win this Mirror Ball Trophy. I never thought I would be able to do all those moves," Castroneves said. "Julianne Hough able to be really patient with me. She worked really hard. I had a blast and was in the best shape of my life!”

Now when he attends weddings, Castroneves says he’s constantly asked to hit the dance floor.

“Every wedding party everyone is looking at me saying, ‘Here comes the dancing champ!’”

The Indycar Series returns to racing on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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