Mark Ballas's Indy 500 Pick: Go, Helio!
05/24/2009 AT 11:00 AM EDT
Just 72 hours since winning his second mirror-ball trophy, Ballas, who turns 23 on Sunday, says the past couple of days “have been surreal. People have been coming up to me going 'oh my God!' It was the most amazing feeling winning with Shawn [Johnson]. I’m so proud of her."
Even more surreal for Ballas, who shaved his head on Thursday ("My hair was driving me nuts," he says, I was done with it!"), was hanging out in the Team Penske pit and seeing Castroneves win the competition.
“We were right on the tarmac, we got to see the fast car changes, the fast wheel changes. I have never heard a car so loud in my life!” says Ballas, who will be watching to see if pal Castroneves (who was acquitted on tax evasion charges last month) can capture a third Indy 500 title on Sunday. That evening the Ballas Hough Band will perform at the official post-race party at the Conrad Hotel.
“I’m hoping Helio wins,” says Ballas, who says this year’s birthday will be "a nice low-key affair. We’re going watch the race, have a little dinner and perform."