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Sharp seizes opportunity to win Indy Japan 300.


Scott Sharp wasn't the fastest driver on the track, but he was in the right place at the right time to win the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 and continue his streak as the most consistent winner in IRL IndyCarTM Series history.

1996 series co-champion Sharp won the first overseas Indy Racing League event in the No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone as the race ended under caution.

1999 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1998 series champion Kenny Brack finished second in the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone, with 2001 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone third in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

With the victory, Sharp extended his Indy Racing League record streak of winning at least one race in seven consecutive IRL IndyCarTM Series seasons. It was his eighth career IRL victory, tying Sam Hornish Jr. and Buddy Lazier for the all-time series lead.

Sharp also took the series points lead with the victory after entering the race in sixth place. He averaged 129.090 mph and earned $148,400 for the win.

''We improved the car's balance throughout the day, and we were really fast when it mattered,'' Sharp said. ''There was a lot of stuff that happened right in front of me, but the man above was looking out for me.

''I knew we had to get to the finish. In a lot of these races, the competition is so close. We're running just inches apart at times, but you have to get to the end to have a chance to make a run for the win.''

Sharp took the lead on Lap 178 when pole sitter Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan collided and crashed in Turn 3 while dueling for the lead. It was the last of 13 lead changes among six drivers in the race.

That incident came just 10 laps after Tomas Scheckter - who led Laps 124-159 - crashed in Turn 4 in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone while attempting to make a high pass of Kanaan's No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the lead.



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