SONOMA, Calif. (AP) – Tony Kanaan took advantage of teammate Dan Wheldon’s misfortune to move into the lead, then ran away from the rest of the field Sunday to win the Regent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway.

Kanaan beat Buddy Rice by 1.182 seconds – about eight car-lengths – for his second IRL IndyCar win of the season, completing a sweep for Andretti Green Racing on Sunday. Owner Michael Andretti’s son, Marco, won the Menards Infiniti Pro Series earlier in the day.

It was Wheldon’s broken fuel pump that allowed Kanaan to take the lead on the 46th of 80 laps.

“I have had bad days and he capitalized a lot on them,” Kanaan said of Wheldon, the IndyCar points leader.

Kanaan averaged 91.040 mph around Infineon’s 12-turn, 2.26-mile track in the first IRL race held on a road course.

“I think we raced pretty smart. I know I’m going to have to win every race the rest of this year to win the championship,” Kanhe said.

Red Bull Cheever Racing teammates Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier finished third and fourth, 1.854 seconds and 2.664 seconds, respectively, behind Kanaan.

A 19th-lap crash took out the two fastest qualifiers as Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe were attempting to pass rookie Danica Patrick.

Patrick was the last of six cars that remained on course as the rest of the pack pitted on lap 17, after Ed Carpenter spun and stalled. Briscoe slammed into the side of Patrick and she gathered up Castroneves.

“I don’t know what the heck he was thinking. He just decided to pass everybody in one corner and he ended up taking everybody out,” Castroneves said.

Patrick said it was “a foolish move. Helio shouldn’t have taken the brunt of that and, for that matter, I shouldn’t have either.”

Briscoe, who won his first career pole on Saturday, called it “a pretty big mess.”

“I just got on the brakes a bit late, it looks like,” he said. “Had to go on the dirt, and once I got there, there was no stopping the car.”

Castroneves’ woes were the second blow to Marlboro Team Penske. Sam Hornish Jr. went out in the first lap with a broken gearbox. He returned to the race 25 laps down.

That dropped Hornish from second to third in the points standings while Kanaan moved to second behind Wheldon.

Both Rice and Barron had their best finishes of the season. Rice, Patrick’s Rahal Letterman Racing teammate, was third in Japan and Barron had a fourth at Kentucky.

“It’s great to finally have a full-blown solid weekend,” Rice said. “Pit strategy was the main thing, just like everybody anticipated.”

Barron said being on the podium for the first time this season was a welcome change.

“This is my second season without a win,” he said. “I want to win races. It’s a positive direction.”

AP-ES-08-28-05 1933EDT


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