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After Fontana
Final Driver Standings

Rank Driver Points
1 Will Power 671
2 Helio Castroneves 609
3 Scott Dixon 604
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 586
5 Simon Pagenaud 565
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 563
7 Tony Kanaan 544
8 Carlos Munoz 483
9 Marco Andretti 463
10 Sebastien Bourdais 461
11 Ryan Briscoe 461
12 James Hinchcliffe 456
13 Josef Newgarden 406
14 Charlie Kimball 402
15 Justin Wilson 395
16 Mikhail Aleshin 372
17 Jack Hawksworth 366
18 Takuma Sato 350
19 Graham Rahal 345
20 Carlos Huertas 314
21 Sebastian Saavedra 291
22 Ed Carpenter 262
23 Mike Conway 252
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch 80
26 J.R. Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam 57
28 Luca Filippi 46
29 James Davison 34
30 Jacques Villeneuve 29
31 Alex Tagliani 28
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8
Danica Patrick finally wins a race, makes history

IndyCar at Motegi, Japan
Sunday, April 20, 2008

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Danica Patrick wins her first ever race and is sure to garner even more media attention now
Shawn Payne/IRL

She only led 3 laps, but it was the most important 3.  Danica Patrick became the first female to win a major auto racing event at Twin Ring Motegi Sunday. Patrick, who turned 26 three weeks ago, won in her 50th IndyCar Series start after the three race leaders had to stop for a splash and go with 5 laps to go.

With six laps remaining, Dixon had a 3.6-second lead over Dixon. But the leader had to pit for a splash of fuel on Lap 195. Wheldon and Kanaan had to follow suit on Lap 196. That left the door open for Patrick and Castroneves, whose last pit stop came on Lap 148, to stretch it to the end without stopping. 

Helio Castroneves, making his 100th IndyCar Series start, finished 5.8594 second behind and Scott Dixon was third. Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Dan Wheldon, finished fourth and Tony Kanaan was fifth.

The start - a sparse crowd showed up on Sunday for the rain-delayed race
Dana Garrett/IRL
"Finally," Patrick said in victory lane. "This is a long time coming. It was a fuel strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I know I was on the same strategy at Helio (Castroneves) and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn't believe it. This is fabulous."

"First and foremost, I have to thank Motorola for all of their support.  They've been a fantastic sponsor and I'm thrilled to give them their first win in several years.  I also want to thank Go Daddy.com, XM, AirTran Airways, Honda and Firestone for all their support, as well. I also have to thank Michael (Andretti), Kim (Green) and Kevin (Savoree).  They've believed in me since the very beginning and this validates their decision.  To get my first win is great.  To do it at Honda's track is even better."

"I think Danica is such a fantastic person and I'm thrilled for her that the monkey is finally off of her back," said Michael Andretti, co-owner of Andretti Green Racing. "We have all believed in her and she proved today that she is a winner. Frankly, I think this is the first of many."

"We led for a lot of laps but came up short," Dixon said. "But congratulations to Danica for her first victory."

Patrick, who started from the third row and made her final pit stop on lap 148, stayed close to the leaders throughout the race.

Patrick went from fourth to second place on lap 197 after Wheldon and Kanaan went into the pit on lap 196. She was as low as eighth place on the 189th of 200 laps.

"With five laps to go, I was saving fuel," Castroneves said. "When Danica passed me, I realized she was the leader. She did a great job, passed me fair and square and that shows you how competitive our series is."

This is Danica Patrick's first IndyCar Series victory. Her previous best finish was second at Detroit in September 2007.  She s the first female driver to win an Indy Racing League event. She previously shared the record with Sarah Fisher, who finished second at Miami in 2001.

Wheldon's fourth place finish was the first time he finished outside the top-two at Motegi since 2003.

Ed Carpenter finished sixth, his best finish at Motegi in five starts.

INDY JAPAN 300 POST-RACE QUOTES:

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner Indy Japan 300): "Finally! This is a long time coming. It was a fuel strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I know I was on the same strategy at Helio and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn't believe it. This is fabulous."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Team co-owner, Andretti Green Racing): "I think Danica is such a fantastic person and I’m thrilled for her that the monkey is finally off of her back.  We have all believed in her and she proved today that she is a winner.  Frankly, I think this is the first of many.

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second): "I'm again part of history. The car was really good in the beginning, then we started picking up a vibration. It looks like we pitted a little bit long. We were having problem in the pits. I'm disappointed with that, With five laps to go, I was saving fuel. When Danica passed me, I realized she was the leader. She did a great job, passed me fair and square and that shows you how competitive our series is.''

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): "It's just one of those races where anything you tried, you didn't know exactly what to do. You had people in the back who were pitting and taking fuel under yellows. If we had had a yellow, we would have been stuck back there. But it worked out perfectly for the guys who made it a fuel race. Really frustrating because we had the car to beat, but I guess that's the way it goes."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): “It became a fuel mileage race, and we had a really good car. To be quite honest, we have some work to do on our pit stops. It was a good day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, but not what we wanted.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): “The Team 7-Eleven car was good today but we seemed to miss on the strategy.  It’s pretty frustrating but it is what it is

Results

Pos

Driver Start Pos Last Lap Behind Status
1 Danica Patrick (7) 6 200 ... Running
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 1 200 5.8594 Running
3 Scott Dixon (9) 2 200 10.0559 Running
4 Dan Wheldon (10) 5 200 13.1116 Running
5 Tony Kanaan (11) 3 200 16.0731 Running
6 Ed Carpenter (20) 7 200 16.8272 Running
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 10 200 17.5193 Running
8 Darren Manning (14) 12 199 1 lap Running
9 Ryan Briscoe (6) 15 199 14.1429 Running
10 Townsend Bell (23) 16 199 14.8100 Running
11 Hideki Mutoh (27) 9 199 15.0721 Running
12 Buddy Rice (15) 11 198 2 laps Running
13 Jay Howard (24) 14 192 8 laps Running
14 Roger Yasukawa (77) 18 134 66 laps Running
15 A.J. Foyt IV (2) 8 103 97 laps Contact
16 Vitor Meira (4) 13 92 108 laps Contact
17 Marty Roth (25) 17 44 156 laps Contact
18 Marco Andretti (26) 4 0 200 laps Contact


Race Statistics     
Winner's average speed: 164.258 mph   
Time of race: 1:51:02.6739     
Margin of victory: 5.8594 seconds     
Cautions: 4 caution flags for 29 laps     
Lead changes: 5 among 4 drivers     
Lap leaders: Castroneves 1-93, Dixon 94-194, Wheldon 195-196, Castroneves 197-197, Patrick 198-200.     
Point standings: Castroneves 112, Dixon 100, Patrick 98, Kanaan 89, Wheldon 85, Carpenter 70, Andretti 65, Hunter-Reay 65, Mutoh 59, Manning 58.

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