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Dixon wins Honda Edmonton Indy after Castroneves penalized

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The Canadian Press
7/25/2010 10:46:49 PM
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EDMONTON - Scott Dixon won a bizarre Honda Edmonton Indy on Sunday after rival Helio Castroneves crossed the finish line first, but was penalized for blocking his own teammate.

An enraged Castroneves, who was pushed down to 10th after the incident with Will Power, stormed from his Dallara Honda car after the race to yell at IndyCar officials at the flag stand. He then grabbed the IndyCar security chief by the collar and shook him before others moved in to break up the altercation.

"Pretty strange to not run a lap (in front) and actually win the race," Dixon said afterwards. "(But) rules are rules, man.

"It was obvious Will had a pretty good run. The only way to stop him was blocking."

The 35-year-old Castroneves declined comment after the race but said later in a news release that while he still disagrees with the call, he should not have stormed the flag stand.

"There is no excuse for my actions after the checkered flag," the Brazilian driver said in the release.

"I'm a very emotional person and today I let my emotions get the better of me and I'm very sorry for that."

It was the second win of the year for the 30-year-old Dixon, who races with the Target Chip Ganassi team. The New Zealand driver won in Edmonton in 2008 en route to six victories and the overall points championship.

Dixon raced around the 1.96-mile, 14-turn City Centre Airport track at 114.326 miles per hour at a best time of one minute 2.13 seconds.

Power ended up 2.67 seconds behind Dixon but retained the lead in the overall points race. Dixon's teammate Dario Franchitti was third, 3.28 seconds back.

Toronto's Paul Tracy was sixth while Alex Tagliani of Lachenaie, Que., was clipped by Tony Kanaan at the race's midpoint and crashed. He finished 23rd in the 25-car grid.

It had been Power's race to lose. The 29-year-old Australian was coming off two consecutive wins and had run the fastest time in practice and qualifying. He led the entire race until Castroneves nipped underneath him with 18 laps to go to take the lead.

With five laps left, Simona De Silvestro went off course, bringing out a full-course yellow caution flag. The cars were forced to reduce speed and stay in formation.

Then with three laps remaining, the green flag was waved and the cars roared into action. Power gunned his engine and drove hard to the outside on the wide corner at the end of pit row, catching up to Castroneves and appearing ready to overtake him.

That's when Castroneves moved off his normal racing line up to the outside to block his teammate, a violation of IndyCar rules. Power backed off.

"At the end of the day I was always going to do a clean move on Helio," Power said later. "I wasn't going to take a risk of taking us both out. I wouldn't do that to a teammate. I race my teammates clean."

As Castroneves moved high to block Power, Dixon, charging hard in third, suddenly found himself with a wide open lane on the inside of the track. He took it and passed Power for second.

With two laps to go, race officials cited Castroneves for a black flag infraction and gave him a drive-through penalty, which means a driver must go through pit row on his next lap at half speed.

Castroneves ignored the order and raced to the checkered flag, leading to the post-race fireworks.

Dixon said officials made the right call.

"We get told in every drivers meeting that you can't protect your line. I guess you've got to give credit to Brian (Barnhart, the race competition boss) for standing up and doing something about it, because it's definitely going to make everybody understand and not do it again."

It was a good day for Tracy, who drove for KV Racing Technology. He started 15th after a poor qualifying session but drove steadily through the field as the race wore on.

"Hopefully I made the fans proud today in Canada," said Tracy.

"I just have to get the car figured out better for qualifying. This is a tough, physical race and the cars slide around a lot."

This was just the third race for Tracy in 2010. The 41-year-old is still looking for a full-time ride on the circuit. He was 13th last week in Toronto and 14th earlier this month at Watkins Glen.

"It's tough that this could be the end for the year right here," he said. "That's just the way it is. We need to find the budget to continue."

Tagliani, 37, started 19th in his FAZZT Race Team car and was slowly working his way up the grid until he was sideswiped by Kanaan.

The hit put Tagliani into a spin and into the path of rookie Mario Romancini, who slammed into Tagliani's front end, collapsed the front left tire, and ended his day.

"I thought I left (Kanaan) plenty of room, and then I felt pushed. That's the only thing I can say," said Tagliani.

Danica Patrick of Andretti Autosport started 21st and finished 15th, getting forced off the track at one point into the infield grass.

"We were trying whatever we could," said Patrick. "Obviously as a team we have to think about what we've got going on here. It was another disappointing result for us."

Scott Dixon (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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