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Wheldon makes history in St Petersburg.

Englishman Dan Wheldon became the first driver to win an IRL IndyCar Series race on a track other than an oval as he led an Andretti-Green Racing top four sweep on the sunny streets of St Petersburg in Florida.

Wheldon capitalised on a late race clash between surprise leader Ryan Briscoe and defending series champion Tony Kanaan to move from third to first and claim his second win of the season.

The Londoner overcame several concerted passing attempts from Kanaan over the final nine tours of the 1.8-mile St Petersburg track on a historic day for the series, and its champion team Andretti-Green, taking the chequered flag one and a half seconds ahead of his teammate.

Like Kanaan, Dario Franchitti also made several forceful passing moves during the course of the 100-lap race to take the final podium position ahead of pole sitter and lap one leader Bryan Herta.

The first non-AGR car home was Rahal-Letterman Racing's Vitor Meira in fifth place, the Brazilian born driver escaping a collection of accidents, which, in total claimed eight of the 21 starters.

Scott Dixon survived a last corner assault from Kosuke Matsuura to take sixth position ahead of Buddy Rice and Patrick Carpentier, who was the last driver on the lead lap.

Carpentier and ninth place finisher Darren Manning were the only two drivers with prior experience of the part airport, part waterfront circuit but while Carpentier had a quiet day, Manning briefly led until contact with Kanaan in turn eight dropped him down the order.

Danica Patrick enjoyed a brief stint in second place during the opening 30 laps thanks to a different pit strategy to that of most of the leaders before a gearbox problem cost her five laps. After repairs she returned to finish 12th, gaining valuable experience and finishing as the top rookie driver.

Briscoe was finally classified 14th after a side-by-side moment with Kanaan shortly after the final restart of the day on lap 91 ended with the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz-Toyota nose first in the tyre barrier.



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The podium of Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, and Scott Dixon celebrate in Victory Circle following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday April 26 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden celebrates in victory lane after winning the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday April 26 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, and Scott Dixon celebrate in Victory Circle following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday April 26 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal,and Scott Dixon hoist their trophies following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday April 26 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal,and Scott Dixon hoist their trophies following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday April 26 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
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Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 25, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Newgarden`s first victory in the IndyCar series. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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