SPEEDWAY — In two weeks the new champion of the Indianapolis 500 will be crowned, and his face will join all the others on the famous Borg-Warner trophy.
It's another of the Indy 500's great traditions.
Wil Behrends is the man who has crafted those iconic faces for more than 30 years. Based in Tryon, North Carolina, Behrends is the official sculptor of the faces of Indy's winners.
Behrends recently got a visit from Helio Castroneves as this year's project was wrapping up.
Upon coming face-to-face with himself for the fourth time, Castroneves was in awe of the work Behrends did.
“Wow! Is this Tom Cruise?” Castroneves said. “This is truly incredible.”
While Behrends made finishing touches to Castroneves’ bust, Castroneves and Behrends shared a conversation about the history of the busts Behrends created.
“What was the most challenging you’ve done,” Castroneves said. “Or let’s put it this way, what was the favorite that you’ve done?”
“It may be the same one,” Behrends said. “Which is the first one – Arie Luyendyk. It was challenging because it was the first one I was doing and I had never worked on that scale. But also, he had hair. So I went with the hair and it was unlike anything else on the trophy.”
Earlier this month, the Borg-Warner was unveiled with Castroneves’ face placed on it for the fourth time.
As for this year, Castroneves said it is an honor, but he is ready to make history.
“I am honored to be the one representing that history,” Castroneves said. “But, I am going to chase one more because records are made to be broken.”
The field of 33 drivers will begin practice for the 106th Indianapolis 500 on Tuesday. While eight drivers in the field will eye to add their likeness to the trophy again, 25 will look to add their face for the first time on May 29.
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