Photo: Jerome Ware/ZUMA
December 10, 2007 12:00 AM

Helio Castroneves pulled into Los Angeles on Sunday morning with a mission. The two-time Indianapolis 500 champ, who happened to waltz, fox trot and cha-cha his way to the season five Dancing With the Stars championship last month, had a score to settle.

While the rest of the show’s cast and crew got to celebrate their success on finale night, Castroneves and professional dance partner Julianne Hough hopped on a redeye to New York to do a slew of press and public appearances.

“We didn’t get to go to the wrap party the night we won,” Castroneves told PEOPLE Sunday night at an event hosted by Brazilian rum maker Leblon at the Sunset Tower Hotel Terrace in West Hollywood.

It was the first time in a week that the season five champs were in the same city. The last time they were together they were vehemently denying rumors that they were dating and that Hough was the reason for Castroneves ending his engagement to Miami business woman Aliette Vazquez.

“I went through that with Apolo Anton Ohno last season and now again with Helio and I wasn’t dating Apolo then and I’m not dating Helio,” Hough said.

But Castroneves was caught off guard. “It was very shocking for me. It is what it is. I was surprised cared so much. Because I’ve been so busy I did not see it all, I didn’t not have time to read. I think if you have time you start to look and you start to read and then you’ll probably find a negative. So I decided to just move forward and forget about it… I always think of the glass half full instead of the glass half empty. I think the show happened for a good reason.”–Monica Rizzo

Photo: Jerome Ware/ZUMA

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