FOUNTAIN, Colo. (AP) – Dan Wheldon took his second lead with 60 laps left and wasn’t challenged again, running away with the Honda Indy 225 on Sunday for his record-tying fifth win of the season.

Wheldon started 11th and gradually worked his way to the front on the mile tri-oval at Pikes Peak International Raceway, taking the lead when he whipped past defending champion Dario Franchitti on lap 153. Franchitti took the lead back on lap 159 when Wheldon went to the pits, but the Englishman came charging back and had the lead six laps later.

Wheldon led by as much as 14 seconds after that and cruised to his first win since the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, beating Sam Hornish Jr. by 12.4763 seconds and averaging 153.79 mph) for his eighth career victory.

Wheldon also won at Miami, St. Petersburg and Motegi, matching Hornish’s record for wins in a season, set in 2002. He celebrated with a series of doughnuts that shredded his back right tire, some well-deserved fun after five top-fives but no wins over the past seven races.

The win, which clinched Honda’s second straight manufacturer’s title, increases Wheldon’s lead over Hornish to 97 points with four of the series’ 17 races left.

Tony Kanaan finished third.

Rookie Danica Patrick started fifth, but clearly didn’t have a car to compete with the leaders early. She dropped to seventh shortly after taking the green flag and was off the lead lap less than halfway through.

But Patrick’s car finally started to come around late in the race and she made a charge, finishing eighth.

Hornish seemed to have the best car early, building a nine-second lead headed into the first pit stop. But the car started to go after that and Hornish had to fight his way back to the front for his fifth top-two finish this season.

Franchitti had the roughest finish. He led three times and was running second when he stalled coming out of his second pit stop on lap 164. The team tried to push start the car without any success, then finally got it going after pushing it back to the stall and starting it electronically.

By then, Franchitti’s wife, singer Ashley Judd, was shaking her head in the pits and he had dropped to ninth. He finished seventh.

Polesitter Helio Castoneves led the first 19 laps, but had a hard time keeping up with the leaders after getting passed by teammate Hornish. He finished fourth.

AP-ES-08-21-05 1804EDT


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