Patrick Makes History
April 19, 2008 | 11:13 P.M. EST
Patrick did it by making history at Twin Ring Motegi when she became the first female to win an IndyCar Series race after she won the Indy Japan 300.
"It's a long time coming. Finally," Patrick said.
The 26-year-old Partick was able to take the checkered flag in her 50th series start after conserving enough fuel in the last 52-lap run of the 200-lap race. She passed Helio Castroneves with three laps to go and the rest was history.
"I was either going to be second with the rate that the fuel was going, and it wasn't until I actually passed Helio that I knew -- I was pretty sure that I was going to win." Partick said.
The victory was Patrick's ninth career top five, and first since finishing second in the Detroit Grand Prix last September.
Pole-sitter Castroneves held on to finish second, 5.86 seconds behind Patrick's No. 7 Motorola machine.
"I was really, really saving a lot of fuel," Castroneves said. "When Danica passed by I didn't know she was the leader until when I passed the pagoda and checked the numbers, and I noticed that No. 3 was in front of No. 7 until that point, and I realized that I just lost the lead.
"In recognition of Danica's talents, she did a good job. She passed me fair and square. I didn't have enough fuel, even if I wanted to, to fight with her, and today I guess it's part of history again."
Scott Dixon, who led the most laps with 102, finished third after he was forced to pit on lap 195.
"It was a whole day of strategy and wondering whether we should save fuel or go fast or let the other guys catch a little bit," Dixon said. "It was just one of those days where you pretty much knew you were a sitting duck. In the end it bit us."
Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan, who both pitted a lap later, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Castroneves maintained his series lead and now holds a 12-point advantage over Dixon. Patrick was able to jump from seventh to third with the victory.
Nine full-time IndyCar Series drivers, which includes St. Petersburg winner Graham Rahal, will earn IndyCar points in Sunday's Champ Car finale at Long Beach, Calif.
After the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the IndyCar Series will head to Kansas Speedway for next Sunday's RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300.