updated 10/05/2012 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/08/2012 AT 7:00 AM ET
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?’ ”