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Helio Castroneves appears as a contestant in the fifth season of the ABC network’s celebrity reality television dance competition series Dancing with the Stars. He and his partner Julianne Hough earned three perfect 30s leading up to the season finale. Two perfect scores were earned on the same night, during the ninth performance show for the foxtrot and the cha cha.
Helio made it to the finals, competing against Marie Osmond and Melanie Brown. Marie was revealed early on in the night to be the tenth celebrity dancer to be eliminated from the competition. Mel and Helio had a dance-off, she dancing the mambo and he dancing the quickstep. They both received perfect 30s from the judges for their performances, but in the end Helio was named the champion, and Mel the runner-up.
Helio is a champion Brazilian racecar driver who was born on May 10, 1975 in São Paulo. Castroneves was raised in Ribeirão Preto City, and continues to maintain close ties to his family. His sister Kati works as his manager, while his parents Helio and Sandra also accompany him during his races and at public events. He started out competing in go-kart races, and had the support of his father, who owned a stock car team. His father even smuggled him onto the race tracks to help out the pit crews when Castroneves was young, even when minors weren’t allowed anywhere near there.
At present, he is in the IndyCar Series, having won the Indianapolis 500 in both 2001 and 2002. He became known for winning the pole position of the race in 2007. He is known by fans of racing as “Spider-Man” due to his habit of climbing the track-side debris fences in the aftermath of successful races. He was previously signed with Penske Racing for CART in 2000, though he switched to rival group IRL in 2002.
Julianne Hough and Helio Castroneves
(Photos courtesy of ABC)