Sharp Performance At Kentucky
August 14, 2005 | 3:34 P.M. EST
Sharp, driving the No. 8 Delphi Honda Panoz that car owner Adrian Fernandez won here with last year, put on a charge from fifth to second over a six-lap span before running down Wheldon on lap 130.
From there on, it was Sharp at the point, although first Wheldon and then Meira made it one of the most exciting races of the season.
Wheldon got a huge boost for his first championship when his three main rivals for the title experienced problems, scoring a solid third place finish after leading 99 laps of the 200 laps.
"It's been a long time," Sharp admitted after winning the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries. The official margin of victory was .0079 seconds.
Alex Barron finished fourth, followed by Helio Castronevis, Buddy Lazier, Sam Hornish, Kosuke Matsuura, A.J. Foyt IV and Jimmy Kite.
While Danica Patrick started the race on the pole in the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Honda, she was never a factor in
the race. After running sixth throughout much of the opening portion of the event, she stalled on a pit stop and then lost a lap with transmission
Dropping out moments later with similar trouble was Tomas Scheckter, in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Chevrolet Dallara. Starting from the back of the 23-car field after changing an engine following practice, he worked his way
up to a solid third before the gearbox quit.
Moments later, Tony Kanaan experienced his third DNF of the campaign after completing every lap in 2004.
"It's bumpy for everybody," Kanaan said after losing a wheel bearing. "It was a fun day. I had a good start. I was happy."
Michael Andretti wasn't happy when Kanaan was soon joined on the sidelines by Bryan Herta on lap 147 (gearbox) and Dario Franchitti, who lost a wheel bearing on lap 169 to bring out the final caution.
Sam Hornish blistered a tire on lap 153 to fall out of contention.
The race was the 12th on the 17-race IRL IndyCar Series schedule, and the first of three consecutive weekends in action. Sunday, the series visits Pikes Peak, and then hits the road course at Sonoma, California the following weekend.