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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

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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)
Helio Castroneves pits during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday August 24 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, is congratulated by teammate Helio Castroneves after capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014 with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves playfully congratulates team mate Will Power on winning pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Saturday August 23 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves navigates the Turn 9 Esses during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (center), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 with second-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya (left), driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, and Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Huggies Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a sixth-place finish Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. The finish was good enough for Power to retake the drivers points championship lead from teammate Helio Castroneves. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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