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Ed Carpenter won the race as Ryan Hunter-Reay survived a thrilling end to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season to take the championship by a narrow margin over Will Power.
In a season finale to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar championship that lived up to any amount of hype, Ryan Hunter-Reay won the title by a slender margin over Will Power by surviving multiple incidents over a 500-mile night race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday.

The night was turned on its head early when championship leader Will Power spun out on lap 56 and crashed against the SAFER barrier, nearly taking his championship rival with him which would have settled the matter on the spot. Instead, Hunter-Reay survived but was forced to ensure that he finishd in fifth place or better to overhaul Power's remaining 17pt lead that he had held coming into the weekend.

The race was dominated early on by a strong run from Ed Carpenter, but his pace started to wane as the night drew in and Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Alex Tagliani emerged as the contenders for the lead after the midway point.

As the race neared its climax, Tagliani suffered engine failure and Kanaan spun out with apparent suspension failure triggering a red flag stoppage for the clean-up with less than ten laps remaining. That left a rejuvenated Carpenter duelling with Dixon and his Ganassi team mate Dario Franchitti, with Carpenter holding out for the race win at the chequered flag.

But all eyes had been on Ryan Hunter-Reay, and after Takuma Sato spun out into a heavy impact with the wall on the final lap, Hunter-Reay's fourth place finish was sufficient to hand him the IZOD IndyCar championship by just 3pts over Will Power.

Final IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings available
Full, detailed race report now available.

Race results

1. #20 Ed Carpenter ECR (C) 2hrs 57mins 34.7433secs (250 laps)
2. #10 Dario Franchitti Ganassi (H) + 1.9132s
3. #9 Scott Dixon Ganassi (H) + 2.6091s
4. #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti (C) + 3.0477s
5. #3 Helio Castroneves Penske (C) + 4.1933s
6. #38 Graham Rahal Ganassi (H) + 5.4381s
7. #15 Takuma Sato Rahal (H) + 1 laps - Contact
8. #26 Marco Andretti Andretti (C) + 1 laps
9. #6 Katherine Legge Dragon (C) + 1 laps
10. #83 Charlie Kimball Ganassi (H) + 1 laps
11. #4 JR Hildebrand Panther (C) + 2 laps
12. #19 James Jakes Dale Coyne (H) + 2 laps
13. #27 James Hinchcliffe Andretti (C) + 3 laps
14. #14 Wade Cunningham AJ Foyt (H) + 4 laps
15. #77 Simon Pagenaud Schmidt (H) + 4 laps
16. #67 Josef Newgarden SFHR (H) + 6 laps
17. #2 Ryan Briscoe Penske (C) + 6 laps
18. #11 Tony Kanaan KVR (C) + 10 laps - Contact
19. #22 Oriol Servia Panther/DRR (C) + 19 laps
20. #98 Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta (H) + 21 laps - Contact
21. #17 Sebastian Saavedra Andretti (C) + 132 laps Electrical
22. #8 Rubens Barrichello KVR (C) + 143 laps - Mechanical
23. #18 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne (H) + 170 laps - Mechanical
24. #12 Will Power Penske (C) + 184 laps - Contact
25. #5 EJ Viso KVR (C) + 185 laps - Mechanical
26. #78 Simona de Silvestro HVM (L) + 234 laps - Mechanical

Fastest lap: 216.561 mph (33.2470s) on lap 228 by Dario Franchitti



Related Pictures

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Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates on the podium after winning at Baltimore, setting him up for a last-round decided for the 2012 title at the season finale at Fontana. (c) 2012, Phillip Abbott (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Ed Carpenter on track in the #20 during the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championship season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (c) 2012 Jamey Price (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Ed Carpenter celebrates winning the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championship season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (c) 2012, Perry Nelson (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates winning the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg with third-place finisher Tony Kanaan (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6; and Tony Kanaan (right), driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6; celebrate with Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who raced to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power finished second. Kanaan finished third. Chevrolet took the top six places in the first race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power clash in the closing laps of the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, March 28, 2015, winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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