Tony Kanaan regained the lead with 12 laps left and held off teammate Dario Franchitti to win the Indy Racing League's Bombardier 500 last night at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
While the race missed the 220-mph speeds and much of the three-wide racing that had become characteristic at the 11/2-mile, high-banked track, Kanaan won with a last dash to the finish.
Just one lap after a restart from the caution that knocked Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice out of the race, Kanaan overtook another Andretti Green Racing teammate, Dan Wheldon.
Wheldon and Penske driver Helio Castroneves had been 1-2 on the restart, but both were trying to make it the last 72 laps without a stop. They didn't have enough fuel to keep up the pace, or finish the race.
Kanaan went flying by Wheldon, and was joined by polesitter Franchitti soon after the green flag as Castroneves quickly dropped four spots. They stayed 1-2 the rest of the race, the margin of victory being a quarter of a second.
It was the second win of the season for Kanaan and third in the IRL. He took over the series points lead (210-175) over Wheldon, who had led by just a point going into the race.
Kanaan led 145 of 150 laps and finished with an average speed of 153.965 mph.
"I kept thinking to myself that I knew I had led too many laps. I was thinking just let the best car win today," said Kanaan, the runner-up at Indianapolis last month. "I never felt I was dominating. I felt I had a good car and kept my concentration."
Alex Barron finished third after starting at the back of the 22-car field because of a mechanical problem that kept him from posting a qualifying speed.
Sam Hornish Jr., Castroneves' new teammate, was fourth and Adrian Fernandez fifth.
Rice had just led the previous lap when his front left wheel made contact with Darren Manning's wheel on the 179th lap. Hornish had to go high to avoid the mess.
"I didn't know anybody was down there," Rice said. "I started to fall back in line, started to turn in and got a big hit from the side. I had no idea he was there."
* NASCAR: Jeff Gordon puts the discouraging finishes in his rearview mirror as easily as he does his victories.
Gordon refuses to dwell on what goes right or wrong in one race when another is just around the turn. Still, Gordon acknowledges that's been tougher to do after finishing 30th in Charlotte, then 36th last week in Dover.
"We obviously can't continue this streak like this," said Gordon, who starts sixth in today's Pocono 500 in Long Pond, Pa. "We have to have good runs."
Gordon was cruising toward another typical season after consecutive first-place finishes at Talladega and in California and reached as high as third in the points standings.
But he ran into trouble in Richmond when his No. 24 Chevrolet looked nothing like that of a four-time Nextel Cup champion. Gordon said his car never felt right and he fell a lap behind pace.
Last week at Dover, he blew a tire and hit the wall.
* FORMULA ONE: It's going to be a lot harder for Michael Schumacher to win the Canadian Grand Prix this time.
The six-time Formula One champion and six-time winner on Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will start sixth in today's race.
Schumacher will be going after his third straight win in Montreal and fourth in the last five years. To get it done, though, the Ferrari star will have to get past four other fast drivers before he can even think about chasing down and passing younger brother Ralf, the record-setting pole-winner.
* 24 HOURS OF LE MANS: Tom Kristensen of Denmark started his run at a record-tying sixth win in Le Mans, France, when the grueling 24-hour race kicked off yesterday.
Audi looked set to dominate the race again as its cars quickly grabbed the first four places. The German car manufacturer won the competition from 2000 to '02.
Kristensen, who is attempting to match a Le Mans record held by Belgian driver Jackie Ickx, held steady in second place after nearly three hours of racing, behind Jamie Davies.