Dan Wheldon set an IRL record yesterday with his sixth victory this season and all but clinched his first IRL championship, beating Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. in a tight finish to win the Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Wheldon beat Castroneves by about a hood's length, with Hornish taking third place.

Wheldon will win the points title simply by taking to the track at Watkins Glen in two weeks. With yesterday's victory, he broke a tie with Hornish for wins in a season.

Wheldon survived a pit speed violation midway through the race, regained the lead on the 179th lap, held off a pack in the final stages, and finished in 1 hour 47 minutes 49.6126 seconds -- 0.0133 of a second ahead of Castroneves.

Hornish, a two-time winner at Chicagoland, was followed by Tomas Scheckter and Tony Kanaan.

Danica Patrick, starting from the pole, was sixth -- the seventh top-10 finish of her rookie season. Patrick lost the lead to Scheckter on the second lap and never got it back despite a push late in the race.

* FORMULA ONE: Fernando Alonso moved closer to becoming the circuit's youngest world champion with a conservative and calculated ride in which he finished runner-up to Kimi Raikkonen at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps.

Raikkonen overtook teammate Juan Pablo Montoya in the final stages to win this race for the second straight year for his sixth victory this season.

Alonso, a 24-year-old Spaniard, needs to finish in the top three of any of the three remaining races to clinch the title. The Renault driver's next chance will come at the Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks.

"We did the right thing," Alonso said. "We didn't need to take the gamble and played it safe."

Jenson Button of Britain was third, followed by Mark Webber of Australia. Brazil's Rubens Barrichello was fifth and was Ferrari's only finisher after Michael Schumacher crashed out.

'Chase' Is Set in Richmond

Jeff Gordon slipped out, Ryan Newman surged in and Matt Kenseth held on Saturday night in the frantic Chevy Rock & Roll 400 to make NASCAR's Chase for the championship.

NASCAR's 10-race, playoff-style finish will feature five Roush Racing cars in its 10-driver field, including Kenseth and Carl Edwards, who locked up two of the final spots with solid runs at Richmond International Raceway.

Kurt Busch won the race and was followed by Kenseth and Greg Biffle, giving Roush a sweep of the top three.

Gordon, NASCAR's four-time series champion, will not be eligible to win the Nextel Cup title. Gordon finished 30th, and ensured his worst points finish since his rookie season.