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Castroneves climbs fence at Richmond.


Helio Castroneves scored his first victory and his first trademark fence-climb of 2005 with a victory in the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

Castroneves, who started on the outside of the front row in the #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, led the final 100 laps on the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval and defeated Dario Franchitti by 0.5588 of a second for his seventh career IndyCar Series victory.

"Today was a fantastic day," said Castroneves, who became the fifth winner in as many IndyCar Series events at the track. "Our car was very good, both cars, mine and [pole sitter] Sam [Hornish Jr.], obviously were very fast. I just couldn't ask for a better result."

Red Bull Cheever Racing's Patrick Carpentier, who started a season-high fourth, finished a season-best third. Tomas Scheckter, who won the race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 11, continued his impressive run by moving from 19th on the starting grid to a fourth-place finish. Dan Wheldon increased his points lead on Andretti Green Racing team-mate Tony Kanaan to 83 after seven of 17 events with a fifth place.

"That was all we had from the ArcaEx car; Helio just had a little more than we did but we pushed as hard as we could," said Franchitti, who led 56 laps and also recorded a season-high finish. "We're quite happy with second place and we'll keep working at it and we'll win one of these things pretty soon."

Castroneves, who led 112 laps, grabbed the lead for good when he reversed the running order with Franchitti during a caution-period stop for fuel and tyres on Lap 149. He was able to hold off Franchitti's #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/ Firestone on a final-lap shootout after a caution on Lap 242 when the cars of Darren Manning and Roger Yasukawa made contact with each other and the Turn 2 outside retaining wall.

Tony Kanaan and Hornish both lost ground in the points race because of early exits.

Kanaan, the reigning IndyCar Series champion, had his streak of races completed end at 25 when his #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone made contact with the #17 Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone driven by Vitor Meira on Lap 145. The last DNF for Kanaan was in August 2003 at Nazareth Speedway.

"I knew it was going to happen one day," he said. "So today was the day. We didn't start the weekend too good, so let's forget about it and go to Kansas."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Toyota, Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2005.
Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Toyota, Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2005.
Helio Castroneves was delighted to at last get a win in 2004 (Photo: Ron McQueeney/IRL)
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar/Bret Kelly]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar/Bret Kelly]
Simon Pagenaud - Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar Series]
Simon Pagenaud - Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar Series]
Simon Pagenaud - Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar Series]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Richard Dowdy]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Richard Dowdy]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) celebrates pole at Long Beach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Helio Castroneves - Team Penske    [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Helio Castroneves - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]

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