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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

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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)
Will Power and Carlos Munoz flank winner Mike Conway during their victory lap (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and team boss Ed Carpenter pose for pictures after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway poses for pictures with the team from Ed Carpenter Racing after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates pole position in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads Sebastien Bourdais during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads James Hinchcliffe during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway (centre), driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory with champagne Sunday, April 13, 2014 after winning the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 13, 2014 during the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 13, 2014 during the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, raises his arm as he crosses the finish line Sunday, April 13, 2014 to win the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power on track (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay around the fountain turn during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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