Dixon takes title, Castroneves wins

Helio Castroneves beat Scott Dixon to victory at Chicagoland by a few fractions of a second, but it was Dixon who claimed the IRL IndyCar Series title

Dixon takes title, Castroneves wins

Although the timing screens suggested that Ganassi driver Dixon had held off his Penske rival by 0.0010 seconds, close scrutiny of the video footage revealed that Castroneves had nosed ahead across the line and snatched the win despite starting last - although second place was still enough for Dixon to clinch his second championship.

Castroneves' Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe completed the podium in a very close third.

Tony Kanaan finished fourth for Andretti Green Racing, as KV Racing's Will Power charged to fifth in the closing stages.

Ganassi's Dan Wheldon faded to sixth after challenging for the lead for much of the race, while Darren Manning (AJ Foyt Racing), Marco Andretti (AGR), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Rahal Letterman) and Danica Patrick (AGR) filled the rest of the top ten places.

Briscoe led the opening laps under heavy pressure from Kanaan, while Dixon lurked in third place and Castroneves picked his way through the midfield after his qualifying penalty, soon reaching the edge of the top ten.

He then gained several more places in the first pitstops, which came under yellow after Ed Carpenter - who had charged to fourth early on - crashed following an apparent mechanical failure on his Vision Racing car.

Kanaan jumped into the lead at the stops, while Castroneves continued to make progress when racing resumed, passing title rival Dixon for third on lap 65, and then leaping to first place in the next pitstops, which again took place during a caution following a single-car crash for Vitor Meira in his final start with Panther Racing.

Dixon then had a major scare in the next stint as his car lost pace and fell as low as 10th, while Castroneves led from Briscoe, Wheldon and Kanaan. But as the race approached its final stages, Ganassi charged back into contention, with Dixon rejoining the front group and Wheldon repeatedly swapping the lead with Castroneves.

When the final stops came under yellow with 18 laps remaining, it was Dixon who emerged from the pits first and proceeded to resist enormous pressure from Castroneves until the final corner, when the Penske Dallara-Honda just edged ahead on the outside to claim a consolation win.

The result was not only the closest finish in series history, with Castroneves winning by just 0.001 seconds, but also saw Castroneves set a new record from coming back from 28th on the grid to take victory.

The race saw spectacular pack racing in the top ten all afternoon and just four seconds covering the top 12 at the chequered flag, although several drivers were left ruing their misfortune after losing out on or throwing away potentially great results.

Both EJ Viso (HVM) and Mario Moraes (Dale Coyne Racing) crashed out after charging drives that saw them come from the back of the grid to run in the top five before a puncture for Viso and a late brush with the wall for Moraes.

Other drivers whose promising top six runs ended in disappointment included Graham Rahal, who was penalised for taking Buddy Rice out in a pit lane collision and later hit the wall, Tomas Scheckter, who suffered floor damage on debris, AJ Foyt IV, who spun on the final lap, and Patrick, who lost ground by pitting under green just before a caution in the closing stages.

Pos  Driver             Team                  Time
 1.  Helio Castroneves  Penske                200 laps
 2.  Scott Dixon        Ganassi              +  0.0033
 3.  Ryan Briscoe       Penske               +  0.0788
 4.  Tony Kanaan        Andretti Green       +  0.6095
 5.  Will Power         KV                   +  1.3580
 6.  Dan Wheldon        Ganassi              +  1.8729
 7.  Darren Manning     Foyt                 +  2.3224
 8.  Marco Andretti     Andretti Green       +  2.4627
 9.  Ryan Hunter-Reay   Rahal Letterman      +  2.7993
10.  Danica Patrick     Andretti Green       +  2.9276
11.  Justin Wilson      Newman/Haas/Lanigan  +  3.0218
12.  Alex Tagliani      Conquest             +  4.2072
13.  AJ Foyt IV         Vision               +   1 lap
14.  Milka Duno         Dreyer & Reinbold    +   1 lap
15.  Franck Perera      Foyt                 +  2 laps
16.  Marty Roth         Roth                 +  3 laps
17.  Oriol Servia       KV                   +  4 laps
18.  Jaime Camara       Conquest             + 13 laps
19.  Graham Rahal       Newman/Haas/Lanigan  + 14 laps
20.  Bruno Junqueira    Dale Coyne           + 16 laps
21.  Mario Moraes       Dale Coyne           + 19 laps
22.  Hideki Mutoh       Andretti Green       + 23 laps
23.  EJ Viso            HVM                  + 64 laps
24.  Sarah Fisher       Sarah Fisher         + 84 laps
25.  Buddy Rice         Dreyer & Reinbold    + 90 laps
26.  Tomas Scheckter    Luczo Dragon         +113 laps
27.  Vitor Meira        Panther              +126 laps
28.  Ed Carpenter       Vision               +164 laps

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