Castroneves wins in Birmingham
12 April 2010 – Helio Castroneves was the man who ended Will Power's victory run of 2010 by clinching the win at the third round of the season in Alabama on Sunday. The Brazilian Penske driver led the way at the Barber Motorsports Park from Scott Dixon and Champion Dario Franchitti as Power finished fourth to retain his championship lead.
Having won the first two rounds in São Paulo and St. Petersburg, Power dominated the early stages of the Barber weekend by setting session-leading times in both practices, qualifying and the Sunday warm-up.
With few overtaking opportunities arising at Barber, the field relied on pit-stop strategies in order to hope for a rise to the front of the field. With Australian Power being one of the leaders in the early stages, both he and Britain's Mike Conway - who had started alongside on the front row - elected to come in when Takuma Sato's KV Racing car stopped on Lap 11 with a throttle issue.
The stops would later prove to be a deciding factor in the race, as Castroneves took the lead from Marco Andretti, Dixon and Franchitti. Following a full course yellow for the Sato stoppage, Andretti took full advantage of Castroneves on the restart to muscle ahead of the Brazilian and take the lead at Turn 5.
With all cars having pitted, Andretti looked set for his first win since 2006 - and what would have been the first for Andretti Autosport under its current guide - although the Nazareth man was forced to pit for an extra top-up of fuel with just eight laps remaining. Having needed a yellow period in order to save fuel, having previously vaulted when his closest rivals adopted a cautious approach, it ironically arrived after Andretti's stop courtesy of a spin for Simona de Silvestro's HVM.
The lead looked as though it could have changed again once the race was back under greens, with just a couple of laps remaining under the chequered flag. However, Castroneves was able to hold Dixon off in an otherwise processional event by an eventual half second to confirm both his first win of the 2010 campaign and an unbeaten record for Penske so far this season.
With Dixon and Franchitti making it an all-podium result for Ganassi, Power finished fourth ahead of the unfortunate Andretti as Ryan Briscoe, Wilson and Tony Kanaan completed the top eight. Behind ninth placed Conway, Alex Tagliani put in another strong performance for the new-for-2010 Fazzt outfit by rising to tenth from 21st at the start.
With Power leading the standings from Castroneves and Franchitti, there is now just a one week gap until the next encounter at Long Beach