Miami Brazilian race car driver and “Dancing With The Stars” champ Helio Castroneves was acquitted Friday of most charges that he worked with his sister and lawyer to evade more than $2.3 million in U.S. income taxes.
A federal jury acquitted Castroneves on six counts of tax evasion but was hung on one count of conspiracy. When the sentence was read, Castroneves broke into sobs and leaned against his attorneys for support.
“I just want to thank God and my fans, and all of the people who prayed for me,” he said outside the courtroom in his native Portugese, still fingering a rosary.
The jury also acquitted Katiucia Castroneves, 35, who is her 33-year-old brother’s business manager, on the tax evasion counts but also hung on the conspiracy charge. Michigan motorsports attorney Alan Miller, 71, was acquitted on all three counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy. The deliberations took six days after a six-week trial.
A few moments later, Castroneves said that he can’t wait to suit up for this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He said he planned to leave Friday night for Los Angeles, where he will race for Team Penske.
“Instead of going to Disneyland, I want to go to Long Beach to race,” he said. “I’m going back to racing.”
Martin takes Phoenix pole
Avondale, Ariz. — Mark Martin won his third pole of the season Friday, taking the top spot at Phoenix International Raceway. Martin ran a lap at 133.814 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to beat Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch for the top starting spot for tonight’s race.
Biffle nets Nationwide win
Avondale, Ariz. — Greg Biffle won Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Biffle had to hold off Jason Leffler over several late restarts, then hold him off for a final two-lap sprint to the finish. The win gave team owner Jack Roush his 100th Nationwide Series victory.