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Sunday, October 3, 2010

IndyCar Race Review: Cafes do Brazil Indy 300

The final race of this year's IZOD IndyCar Series season ended in triumph for Chip Ganassi and heartbreak for Roger Penske.

Ganassi driver Scott Dixon took the checkers in the Cafes do Brazil Indy 300, the final IndyCar race to be held at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while an eighth-place finish was more than enough for teammate Dario Franchitti to clinch his third championship in four years.

Meanwhile, championship leader Will Power, Team Penske's best driver this year, felt the agony of defeat after brushing the wall with only 65 laps to go. Trying to get by lapped traffic, he brushed the outside wall and damaged his right rear suspension. Power finished a disappointing 25th, completing a 17-point swing in favor of Franchitti this weekend that gave the Scot this year's championship by five points.

Franchitti, however, did not escape drama himself; after falling in the field toward the end of the race, Milka Duno wrecked in front of him very late in the race, which would have caused him to finish either 23rd or 24th and lose the title by under 10 points.

Franchitti, Penske driver Ryan Briscoe, and Andretti Autosport Tony Kanaan dominated the early part of the race, but Dixon, who started second, began to lead laps as the race wore on. While Franchitti led a majority of laps, with 128 out of the 200 spent pacing the field, Dixon took the lead for good with 27 to go and extended a nearly three second lead over second place.

That second step on the podium was occupied by none other than Danica Patrick, who is more than happy to finish a tough 2010 season. Patrick's strong run, combined with a 21st-place finish by Justin Wilson, allowed her to barely sneak into 10th place in points despite a slew of problems and poor finishes this season.

Kanaan managed to take third, with Briscoe fourth and Helio Castroneves fifth.

The top ten in the final championship standings were Franchitti, Power, Dixon, Castroneves, Briscoe, Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Dan Wheldon, and Patrick.

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