"I was like, 'Whoa, what happened here?' " the former champ tells PEOPLE

By Dahvi Shira and Michele Stueven
October 08, 2012 07:00 AM
Craig Sjodin/ABC

The last Dancing with the Stars elimination episode had Helio Castroneves stumped.

With Kym Johnson and Joey Fatone being the ones who got the boot in the end, the auto racing pro can’t believe he and partner Chelsie Hightower were just one couple away from hanging up their dancing shoes.

“It was very shocking, actually, and surprising, to be honest, to be in the bottom two,” Castroneves, 37, recently told PEOPLE during a rehearsal. “I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened here?’ ”

But the dancing duo isn’t letting one poor week get them down.

“[We’re] moving on,” Castroneves says. “Like in racing … Sometimes we have a bad race. When you lose a championship, it just means sometimes you have a bad pit stop.” His philosophy: “Just turn the page.”

Adds Hightower, “It’s the all-star season, so anything can happen this season. Unfortunately, it was us that [were] in the bottom two. We hope it’s not us again. We’re just working our butts off.”