Tony Kanaan waited nearly five hours to edge Andretti Green Racing team-mate Marco Andretti by 0.0595secs and score his third victory of the season at the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, after again threatened to play havoc with the Indycar schedule.

With the series due to move on to Kentucky next Saturday, organisers were keen to get Michigan over and done with on time, and waited out several rainstorms and a flooded paddock to ensure that there was no hangover to Monday. In the end, the race was delayed by four hours and 37 minutes before eventually getting under way.

The controversy didn't end there though, with just seven cars running at the chequered flag - and both title contenders sidelined during the course of the 200 laps.

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A spectacular crash on lap 144 involved seven cars, including points leader Dario Franchitti and closest pursuer Scott Dixon, and partially eclipsed the results of the
race. The Scot took the outside line overtaking race leader Dan Wheldon on the backstretch, but the cars touched wheels and Franchitti's #27 Canadian Club entry became airborne, gliding some distance before landing, upside down, on the asphalt.

With nowhere to turn, Dixon's #9 Target Chip Ganassi entry and the #22 Vision Racing car of AJ Foyt IV both ran into Franchitti - the Kiwi actually passing under the #27 as it returned to earth - while Wheldon hit the wall and debris accounted for Sam Hornish Jr, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter.

Dixon returned to the race long enough to move ahead of Franchitti, who was classified 13th in the results but, with the Scot gaining three bonus points for leading a race-high 101 laps, he retained a 24-point lead heading to the twilight race at Kentucky Speedway.

Franchitti escaped uninjured from his overturned machine, while Wheldon, Scheckter and Carpenter also escaped serious injury despite their cars being eliminated. Dixon and Hornish had heavily damaged machines and made only brief returns to the track, while Foyt made it to lap 168 to claim eighth before joining his rivals in retiring with 'handling problems'.

With returnees Jon Herb and Milka Duno precipitating a retirement list that also included unrelated crash victims Vitor Meira, Helio Castroneves, Sarah Fisher and Darren Manning - the Briton and Castroneves receiving minor leg injuries - Kanaan was left to take a record-breaking 29th Indycar Series win for Andretti Green Racing, and his third success of an up-and-down season.

"First of all, I want to thank all the fans who stayed around the whole day for the race - from a fan standpoint, they had a lot of action," the Brazilian commented.

"Thank God I was behind at that point [of the accident]. I got chopped off by someone and ended up in the back, so I was behind the whole thing. For the first time, it paid off to be nearly last. I was thinking it was going to be a good day when it was either going to be me or [Andretti] who was going to win the race. I held my line and he tried on the outside a few times, but I think I had a little bit faster car. We played well - and that is the beauty of having good team-mates."

Andretti finished second, matching his season-best finish, admitting that he didn't have the pace to challenge the winner.

"The balance was really good, but the car was just way too slow," he lamented, "We came in and took the diffuser off and went all the way to the back of the field. That made a difference for us. We just didn't have enough speed like we had in a big pack at the end to get by TK."

Scott Sharp came through the carnage to finish a season-high third in the #8 Patron Rahal Letterman Racing car, happy with pre-race decisions taken by his team.

"The racing line moved up as it always does here, and that worked for us a bit because we set the car up to run in the third and fourth grooves," he revealed, "The only time I got beat was down low - until the end. Then, we could run down low and it helped us earn our podium spot and some big points in the standings."

Sharp's car was damaged in the talking-point crash, striking the back of Kosuke Matsuura's Super Aguri Panther Racing entry, but quick pit work by both teams led to the pair contesting third place in the closing laps. Sharp eventually claimed the position by less than a tenth of a second, but Matsuura also posted a season-high - and career best - result in fourth.

Buddy Rice advanced twelve positions to finish fifth for Dreyer & Reinbold, heading home Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick, the AGR pilot again lamenting one that got away after a cut tyre forced her to pit from a top three spot with 14 laps to go.

"It's so frustrating," Patrick sighed, "It's not that often that you get a shot like this to win a race. The guys did such a good job - we were good in the pits; we were smart with our strategy. The Motorola car will win a race soon, but I really think we had the car to win the race today. We didn't and it is very frustrating."