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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)
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, his fourth series championship of his career. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon - 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion - Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates with team mates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates with Chip Ganassi after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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