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Indy Car St. Petersburg, how the race unfolded

Repeat bid over fast

Graham Rahal, the pole-sitter and defending race champion, was essentially eliminated from contention on the first lap when he was bumped off course in Turn 1.

Rookie's rough weekend

Mike Conway, who hit the Turn 9 wall in qualifying to knock him out of the second segment, wound up in the wall in Turn 2 on the first lap and finished last of 22 cars.

Field well-red

The majority of the field started the race on "red" or alternate tires (named for the red-striped sidewall), new to the series on road and street courses this season.

Falling out all over

On Lap 32, Raphael Matos and Danica Patrick wrecked in Turn 11 and slid together into the tire barrier in Turn 12. Seconds later, Mario Moraes' race ended when Hideki Mutoh hit his car in Turn 4.

Sign of trouble

During the ensuing caution-flag period, an on-track vehicle knocked over a brake marker sign entering Turn 10. Two race cars hit the debris before it was cleared.

Briscoe's brawn

Ryan Briscoe came out of the pits with the lead, and after a Lap 41 restart he pulled away from Dan Wheldon, who was second at the time, by about half a second a lap.

Fastest, then a slowdown

Lap 54 saw a spin involving Stanton Barrett in Turn 8, bringing out the race's third caution. Just before that, Justin Wilson turned the fastest lap of the race, 1 minute, 3.244 seconds (102.460 mph).

Good timing

As many leaders pitted, Wilson stayed out a bit longer. When he stopped on Lap 70, he got back on track ahead of Briscoe and took the lead on Lap 72.

Viso drops out

E.J. Viso, who was a career-best fourth here last year and on Sunday ran as high as third for HVM Racing, fell out after 75 laps with a mechanical problem.

Series champ's woes

Scott Dixon, the defending series champion and two-time St. Petersburg runnerup, had contact with Mutoh on Lap 81, damaging his car enough to send him into the Turn 3 wall.

Pass of the race

On the ensuing restart after the Dixon wreck, Briscoe made the decisive move of the race on Lap 87, passing Wilson on the inside of Turn 1 to take the lead for good.

No hometown win

St. Petersburg resident Wheldon, who won the inaugural IndyCar race here in 2005, was taken out along with Mutoh in a four-car wreck in Turn 4 on Lap 87.

Indy Car St. Petersburg, how the race unfolded 04/05/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 5, 2009 8:52pm]
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