Will Power prevails after wild IndyCar opener in Sao Paulo

PIGGYBACK RIDE: Mario Moraes climbs from his car, which was atop the car of Marco Andretti after a Lap 1 wreck.

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PIGGYBACK RIDE: Mario Moraes climbs from his car, which was atop the car of Marco Andretti after a Lap 1 wreck.

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Will Power made a late pass to take the lead from Ryan Hunter-Reay and win Sunday's rain-shortened IndyCar season opener in the Sao Paulo Indy 300.

The Australian passed the Boca Raton native with three laps to go and earned his second series victory by 1.858 seconds.

The race ended at the two-hour time limit with only 61 of 75 scheduled laps completed.

The race had to be red-flagged near halfway after heavy rains made track conditions unsafe, marking another setback for the track which was initially being hailed as one of the highlights of the season but faced problems throughout the weekend.

Home crowd favorite Vitor Meira was third, followed by compatriot Raphael Matos at the 2.6-mile, 11-turn Anhembi temporary circuit in South America's biggest city.

Power's other victory was last year in Edmonton, also a street circuit.

There were only about three minutes left when Power overtook Hunter-Reay, breaking late to make the pass at the end of the long backstretch to take the lead for the first time.

The win was extra special for Power, who last year in Sonoma, Calif., sustained a season-ending back injury in a crash.

"It's been a tough recovery," Power said. "I'm very grateful to be given this opportunity. I laid in bed at the hospital and never thought it was going to happen."

Hunter-Reay led 20 laps in his debut with Andretti Autosport. Power's Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe passed Hunter-Reay for the lead late in the race, but crashed with about 13 minutes left after missing a corner.

Defending series champion Dario Franchitti earned his 13th pole earlier in the day and led the first 23 laps but finished seventh.

The start was marked by a scary incident involving Marco Andretti, who escaped injury after Brazilian Mario Moraes hit him in the back, flew into the air and landed atop Andretti's car. Both drivers were okay.

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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend, March 26-28, downtown streets. Tickets: www.gpstpete.com or 1-877-283-5385

Will Power prevails after wild IndyCar opener in Sao Paulo 03/14/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 14, 2010 10:06pm]

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