Castroneves prevails at Kentucky

THE SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

SPARTA, KY - Helio Castroneves overcame a pit road mishap and then conserved enough fuel at the finish to win Saturday's IZOD IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Castroneves pitted for the final time two laps later than the lead pack during a round of green-flag stops on lap 147 of the 200-lap race. He endured a lengthy stop, which put him back to 10th late in the race.

The Team Penske driver captured the lead for the final time with five laps remaining when the front runners had to pit for a splash of gas. Afterwards, Castroneves praised his race strategist, Tim Cindric, for taking the gamble.

"You actually shouldn't interview me, you should interview [Cindric]," Castroneves said. "Unfortunately, we had a little issue on the pit stop, and things happen for a reason. Maybe we weren't the fastest car, but we were running good. All of the sudden we had an opportunity to try something, and [Cindric] said that we didn't have that much to lose."

It was Castroneves' second win of the season and the 18th of his IndyCar career. He won at the Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, AL earlier in the year.

Castroneves celebrated his victory with his trademark frontstretch fence climb.

His win came six weeks after his post-race altercation with an Indy Racing League official at Edmonton, Canada. Castroneves was leading the race at Edmonton when he was issued a black flag for blocking teammate Will Power just after a restart with three laps remaining. He failed to take the drive-through pit-lane penalty.

Castroneves was penalized 20 seconds and placed at the tail end of the lead lap, which resulted in a 10th-place finish. He was furious with the decision, as he confronted officials and made physical contact with one of the them on pit road.

IRL officials later fined Castroneves $60,000 and placed him on probation for the remainder of the year.

Ed Carpenter, the pole sitter, matched his career-best finish with a second- place run. Last year, Carpenter finished just inches behind race winner Ryan Briscoe at Kentucky.

"I think this finish is more disappointing, because we were so strong this weekend," Carpenter said. "It's tough when you're in our position right now to have a guy win on fuel mileage, because we had a great car all weekend, and we showed it."

Carpenter's Panther Racing teammate, Dan Wheldon, finished third, while Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti rounded out the top-five. Wheldon led the most laps with 93.

Power led 83 laps, but the Penske driver made slight contact with the wall after a late-race pit stop and then faded to an eighth-place finish. His lead is just 17 points over Franchitti, the defending series champion, with two races to go in the season -- Motegi, Japan and Homestead, FL.

"I came up on a back marker, and I think there was a little bit of oil around that area," Power said. "I went up straight towards the wall, and I thought I was done from there. That's when I started to lose a lot of track position. Then I started to lose more position when I went into fuel-save mode."

Marco Andretti finished sixth, and Scott Dixon took the seventh spot. Danica Patrick came in ninth, and Bertrand Baguette was tenth.

Briscoe was involved in a multi-car crash just before the half-way point. Briscoe got collected when Vitor Meira and Simona de Silvestro made contact and slammed the wall. He ended up finishing 24th.


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