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Castroneves rides on fumes to capture Indy 300 victory

SPARTA, Ky. — Helio Castroneves crossed the finish line in front. This time it counted.

The IndyCar star won the Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, driving the final 53 laps on one tank of fuel around the 1.5-mile oval and taking advantage when the leaders made late pit stops to fill up.

Pole-sitter Ed Carpenter was second, followed by St. Petersburg resident Dan Wheldon, Tony Kannan and Dario Franchitti. Points leader Will Power led 82 laps but slipped to eighth after a late-race error.

Power's bobble allowed Franchitti to draw within 17 points with two races left.

Castroneves was fined $60,000 after a postrace outburst in July in Edmonton, where he was penalized for blocking late in the race.

Officials ordered Castroneves to the back. He stayed in front instead, crossing the finish line first even as the flagman withheld the checkers until Scott Dixon crossed moments later.

The normally ebullient Castroneves lost his cool in the aftermath, striking a security official.

On Saturday, Castroneves and the same official hugged after Castroneves collected the 24th victory of his IndyCar career.

Nationwide: Jamie McMurray thought he had the fastest car from the first practice to the last lap. And he proved the point by taking the lead for good on the final restart and holding off Kyle Busch to win the Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.

Busch, trying to become the first driver in the 28-year history of the series to win 11 races in a season, fell short in his late attempt to catch McMurray.

Busch led the most laps but finished second, and Carl Edwards was third.

NHRA: Larry Dixon took the Top Fuel qualifying lead at the U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind. Dixon, winner of nine races and top seed entering the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, had a track-record run of 3.776 seconds at 324.36 mph. Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) led their divisions in the first of six playoff events.

Castroneves rides on fumes to capture Indy 300 victory 09/04/10 [Last modified: Sunday, September 5, 2010 1:14am]
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