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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2009 Indy 500 Breakdown: From Zero to Hero for Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves, just recently returned to the track after acquittal on tax evasion charges, probably gave the IRL the feel-good story of the year at Indianapolis. Taking the lead away from Scott Dixon with just under 60 laps to go, he never gave it up in coasting to his third Indy 500 win. An emotional Castroneves, who started from the pole, also scored a record 15th victory in the big race for team owner Roger Penske. Dan Wheldon finished second, followed by Danica Patrick in third, Townsend Bell fourth and Will Power rounding out the top five.

Frontstretch Breakdown: 2008 Indianapolis 500

Scott Dixon took the pole for this race, his latest assertion that he is the driver to beat this year; and heading into the Indy 500, he gave no one any reason to think differently. Several drivers took turns at the front of the biggest event in open-wheel racing — including teammate Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti — but Dixon always lurked right behind them. His No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew did their job and put him out in front on the final stop of the day; and while second-place Vitor Meira tried to mount a challenge, ultimately the speed Dixon showed all month carried him to the win.

Frontstretch