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Power claims poignant Sears Point win

Will Power, Penske, Sears PointWill Power extended his IndyCar lead by winning at Sears Point a year after breaking his back in a practice crash at the circuit.

The Penske driver resisted huge late pressure from Ganassi's Scott Dixon to clinch his fifth victory of the season, having yesterday taken a season-record eighth pole position, in the final road course event of the year.

In an entertaining race that saw the difference between the two Firestone tyre compounds produce plenty of intrigue and place-swapping down the order, Power was always able to control events from the front, leading by eight seconds at one stage.

But in the final stint Dixon became the only man all day to put Power under real pressure. The double champion passed his Ganassi team-mate Dario Franchitti - who, unlike Power and Dixon, was on the harder 'black' tyres - for second, then was brought onto Power's tail by a late yellow.

For the first few laps after the restart Dixon was all over the back of Power's car, before the Australian started to pull out some breathing space - although his winning margin was just 0.7 seconds.

Franchitti retained third ahead of Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who jumped to second with an early first pitstop but lost out to the Ganassi duo at the last stops.

Front row starter Helio Castroneves (Penske) dropped to fifth during the race, resisting Dreyer & Reinbold's Justin Wilson and Andretti Autosport duo Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Graham Rahal drove well to come through from 16th on the grid to ninth for Newman/Haas, while behind him Dale Coyne Racing's Alex Lloyd survived the day's most chaotic battle to take 10th.

Raphael Matos (De Ferran Dragon) had been in line for the position for a while, until he became entangled with Conquest's Bertrand Baguette and KV's EJ Viso as they tried to follow Takuma Sato (KV) past him.

Sato then got involved in a late collision with Danica Patrick, which left the Andretti driver furious, and ensured Lloyd could claim 10th.

Collisions with both Matos and Viso left impressive qualifier Simona de Silvestro only 13th for HVM. She finished between Marco Andretti - who ran second for a while on an alternative pit strategy but later collided with JR Hildebrand, ending the Dreyer & Reinbold substitute's race - and second row starter Alex Tagliani, whose Fazzt car fell off the pace as the tyres wore in the first stint. He lost several positions from his early fourth before picking up a puncture.

But the most dramatic incident of the day happened even before the start, when Dan Wheldon was sent rolling after wheels became interlocked as drivers prepared for the green. The Panther driver was unhurt.

Pos  Driver               Team               Gap
 1.  Will Power           Penske             75 laps
 2.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi            + 0.7432s
 3.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi            + 6.6132s
 4.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske             + 7.8607s
 5.  Helio Castroneves    Penske             + 10.4594s
 6.  Justin Wilson        Dreyer & Reinbold  + 10.9095s
 7.  Tony Kanaan          Andretti           + 11.5246s
 8.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti           + 11.8938s
 9.  Graham Rahal         Newman/Haas        + 17.5019s
10.  Alex Lloyd           Dale Coyne         + 18.2069s
11.  Mario Moraes         KV                 + 20.2411s
12.  Marco Andretti       Andretti           + 20.6759s
13.  Simona de Silvestro  HVM                + 21.8239s
14.  Alex Tagliani        Fazzt              + 22.4858s
15.  Vitor Meira          Foyt               + 24.2879s
16.  Danica Patrick       Andretti           + 46.1339s
17.  Hideki Mutoh         Newman/Haas        + 1 lap
18.  Takuma Sato          KV                 + 1 lap
19.  EJ Viso              KV                 + 1 lap
20.  Francesco Dracone    Conquest           + 4 laps
21.  Raphael Matos        De Ferran Dragon   + 8 laps
22.  Milka Duno           Dale Coyne         + 8 laps


     Bertrand Bagutte     Conquest           65 laps
     JR Hildebrand        Dreyer & Reinbold  38 laps
     Dan Wheldon          Panther            0 laps
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