Carpenter takes Kentucky Indy 300

Ed Carpenter climbs out from his race car during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in...

Ed Carpenter climbs out from his race car during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this May 20, 2011 file photo. (REUTERS FILES/Brent Smith)

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, Last Updated: 1:32 AM ET

SPARTA, KY - Ed Carpenter became a first-time race winner in the IZOD IndyCar Series by taking Sunday's Kentucky Indy 300, while Dario Franchitti's second-place finish allowed him to take over the points lead with only one race to go.

Carpenter and Franchitti had a spirited side-by-side battle for the lead during the final 20 laps. Both drivers swapped the top position several times within the last 10 laps before Carpenter nipped Franchitti at the finish line by just 0.0098 seconds, making it the sixth closest margin in series history.

His first IndyCar win came in his 113th start. He had finished second in this race the past two years. In the 2009 race at Kentucky, he finished 0.0162 seconds behind winner Ryan Briscoe.

"Winning just feels good for myself, my team and my family," Carpenter said. "I don't care what everybody else thinks at this point. It took me 113 tries. I've been working at it a long time, I'm just going to enjoy it."

Carpenter also gave team owner Sarah Fisher her first win in the series. Carpenter is running a limited schedule for Sarah Fisher Racing in 2011.

Franchitti dominated the race by leading 143 of 200 laps.

"I just tried to stay low there and keep going, but I just ran out of overtakes one lap shy there, and Ed got me," he said. "He drove a great race. The guys told me use an overtake every lap, and I miscounted by one."

Will Power started on the pole and led the first 48 laps, but during the first round of pit stops, Power made contact with Ana Beatriz while entering his stall, causing damage to his car. He had to pit several times for repairs and ended up finishing 19th.

"There was nothing we could do about that one," Power said. "We lost four miles per hour with the hole in the side of the car. The guys had done such a good job with the car. We had the fastest car on the track. It was the best car I've ever had on an oval. The handling was still there, just not the speed."

Power entered the Kentucky race with a 12-point lead, but after his disappointing finish, he trails Franchitti by 18 points heading into the October 16 season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Franchitti is attempting to win his record third consecutive and fourth overall IndyCar championship.

"It's certainly nicer than the position we were in last week [Motegi, Japan], no doubt about it," Franchitti said. "It can change in a second, so we'll just go next week with an open mind and see what comes of it."

Franchitti's Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon, finished third and clinched the A.J. Foyt Trophy for best overall performances on ovals this season. But Dixon was mathematically eliminated from title contention, as he presently trails Franchitti by 55 points.

"All in all a great day for the team," Dixon said. "It's a big points swing in the championship. I'm out of it now which is sad for us. Obviously. we'll try and help push Dario as much as possible at Vegas."

Rookie James Hinchcliffe finished fourth, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Oriol Servia, Wade Cunningham and Ryan Briscoe.

Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick rounded out the top-10.


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