FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Tomas Scheckter edged Sam Hornish Jr. by half a car-length Saturday night, while Danica Patrick finished 13th – last on the lead lap – in the first Indy Racing League event since her thrilling finish at the Indianapolis 500.

The 24-year-old Scheckter, who raced to his only other series victory in Michigan in 2002, became the first winner in a Chevrolet-powered car since Hornish won for Panther Racing, the team Scheckter now drives for, in the 2003 season finale.

“Danica Mania,” in full bloom since Patrick finished fourth in the Indy 500, took a night off as the 23-year-old racer, the only woman in the field, quickly slipped back into the pack after starting third and wound up finishing an uneventful 13th, the last driver on the lead lap.

After leading in each of her last two races and coming close to winning at Indy, Patrick was never a factor in the Bombardier Learjet 500. Instead, she gave up the spotlight to a pack of IRL veterans who put on another in a series of great side-by-side racing shows on the 1-mile Texas oval.

The battle at the end came down to Scheckter, who started from the pole for the third time in six races here, and two-time series champion Hornish, with Scheckter, the son of former Formula One champion Jody Scheckter, winning by 0.534 seconds, less than a car-length.

It was the 10th-closest finish in IRL history.

Scheckter, who had led more laps here than any other nonwinner and never finished above 15th, threw his hands in the air in celebration as the crowd of about 100,000 cheered. He led 119 of the 200 laps Saturday night.

Tony Kanaan, the defending series champion, wound up a close third, followed by Scott Sharp and Helio Castroneves, who all raced in a tight pack over the final 20 laps.

, with Scheckter and Hornish pulling away at the end.

Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, going for a record fourth win in a row in the series, threatened early but finished sixth.

Hornish did everything he could to get past Scheckter in the last few laps, getting up to the rear of the leader but never able to pull alongside.

“The outside pass, I think, with the right timing, I’d be able to get it. But, as it turned out, I didn’t have enough time.”


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