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Helio Castroneves Returns as ‘Dancing’ All-Star

Three-time Indy 500 champ is invited back for the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ all-star season.

By Douglas Newcomb Jul 30, 2012 2:04PM

Helio Castroneves. Photo by ABC.Car racing may not seem as athletic as, say, basketball or football. But it does require some fancy footwork coordination. Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves proved that he could use his experience behind the wheel on the dance floor when he took the checkered flag as winner of the fifth season of ABC's reality show "Dancing with the Stars" along with partner Julianne Hough.

Now Castroneves is hoping for a victory lap by becoming a member of the first-ever "all star" cast of "Dancing with the Stars," which begins airing Sept. 24. The media-friendly IndyCar driver will be one of four athletes returning for the all-star installment of the popular TV show, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers. His pro sports competition includes Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith and gold-medal-winning Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. Other celebrity all-stars in the running are Bristol Palin, Drew Lachey, Gilles Marini, Joey Fatone, Kelly Monaco, Kirstie Alley, Melissa Rycroft and Pamela Anderson. One final contestant will be decided by a fan vote.

Celebrity/pro dancer duos perform predetermined routines to try to score points from the judges and votes from the audience. Each week, the couple that receives the lowest scores and audience votes is eliminated until it’s down to the champion dance team. After being voted as one of the 10 best dancers from the first 10 seasons of the show, the veteran Indy driver returned to "Dancing with the Stars" as a judge in 2010.

Castroneves is in his 13th year with Team Penske, battling for the Izod IndyCar Series championship, driving the No. 3 Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Insurance/Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet. After 11 races so far this year, he’s ranked second in the point standings after a recent a victory at Edmonton, with two race wins in 2012 and nine top-10 finishes. Castroneves has earned 27 career victories and 37 pole positions and, at 4,729 career laps, leads all active IndyCar drivers.

“I am so excited to be on 'Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,'” Castroneves said on his website. “Winning the Mirror Ball trophy was an unbelievable experience, and I’m very honored that the show has asked me back to compete again this season. I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun. I can’t wait to start dancing again.”

And while dancing may not be as dangerous as driving a race car, it’s not without its risks: Stars have suffered injuries ranging from whiplash to fractures at the hands of their partners.

[Source: Inside Line]
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