Helio Wins IRL Barber Debut

Date: 4/13/2010 12:43:44 AM

 
April 11 
Helio Wins IRL Barber Debut
By Walter Elliott
 
 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Helio Castroneves outlasted race
 
leader Marco Andretti and held off Scott Dixon's last lap
 
charge by .5703 to win the IRL IZOD Indy Car Series' first
 
race here at Barber Motorsports Park Sunday afternoon.
 
 Castroneves, who started third to sophomore driver Mike
 
Conway and polesitting teammate Will Power, put on a duel
 
with Andretti for 69 of the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
 
presented by Legacy Credit Union 90 laps.

 The Mobil1 Team Penske No. 3 driver first got the lead
 
when Power pitted during a lap 13 caution period. The
 
Dallara-Honda driver and Dixon managed two pit stops
 
while most others stopped three times. 
 
 Andretti led three times for 58 laps and was leading
 
Castroneves before having to pit for 3.3 seconds to get a
 
needed splash of ethanol. That stop put the Nazareth,
 
Pa. native and Team Venom Andretti Autosport No. 26
 
driver fifth in the final stanza.
 
 Although Castroneves would lead the final eight laps for
 
his 23rd acreer Indy Car victory, Dixon was less than a
 
second behind, looking to pass. The Target Chip Ganassi
 
Racing No. 9 driver thought he had a shot when rookie
 
Simona de Silverstro spun on lap 86 for the race's second
 
and final caution. Castroneves got the drop on Dixon on the
 
lap 86 restart.
 
 Andretti Autosport's Dario Franchitti, Power and Andretti
 
rounded out the top five of all 25 starters who finished -
 
the latter a first in the IRL's 15-year Indy car records.
 
Power, who won the series' first two races this year, made
 
history Saturday. He chartered a record 1 min. 10.1356
 
sec. mark around the 17-turn 2.38-mile natural road course,
translating to 118.057 sec. Power also retained his points
 
lead while car owner Roger Penske received his third
 
straight IZOD ICS race victory.
 
 Takuma Sato, who spun on lap 12, brought out the race's
 
first caution. The two yellow flag periods on the 17-turn
 
2.38-mile natural road course slowed the pace five laps
 
 Class rookie and poleman J.K. Varnay ran ousted front row
 
mate Charlie Kimball on lap two and neverlooked back in
 
the Firestone Indy Lights race Sunday. It is the Lucas Slick
 
Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports No. 7 Dallara-Infiniti pilot's
 
second straight victory.
 
 Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas made team owners Chip
 
Ganassi and Felix Sabates smile by winning the
 
NASCAR Rolex Grand-Am Porsche 250 here Saturday
 
afternoon. Pruett and Rojas put their No. 01 TELMEX Riley-
 
BMW in victory lane for the second straight Grand-Am
 
Daytona Prototype race.
 
 Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal, by placing their No. 69
 
SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 12th overall in the one hour, 21
 
min. race, annexed GT laurels.
 
  Dean Martin and Bob Michaelian brought their No. 52
 
Rehagan Racing Ford Mustang to their second straight
 
Grand-Am Continential Sports Car Challenge victory in the
 
Barber 200 Saturday. Tom Long and Derek Whitis, by
 
finishing 21st overall in their No. 25 Freedom Autosport
 
Mazda MX-5, won Street Tuner honors.

 FINISH (All 26 Starters Ran): HELIO CASTRONEVES, Scott
 
Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Will Power, Marco Andretti, Ryan
 
Briscoe, Justin Wilson, Tony Kanaan, Mike Conway, Alex
 
Tagliani, Dan Wheldon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mario Moares
 
Raphael Matos, Hideki Mutoh, E.J. Viso, Graham Rahal, Vitor
 
Meira, Danica Patrick, Bertrand Baguette (R), Simona de
 
Silvestro (R), Mario Romancini (R), Alex Lloyd (R), Milka
 
Duno, Takuma Sato (R) 
 
POINTS (Top 11 Drivers): POWER-136; Castroneves-104;
 
Franchitti-94; Wilson-85; Dixon-80; Briscoe-79; Hunter-
 
Reay-77; Matos-72; Kanaan-64; Meira and Andretti (tie)-
 
62.
 
 


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