2010 Kentucky Indy 300 from Kentucky Speedway – Click above for high-res image gallery

For the IRL IndyCar Series, the 2010 Kentucky Indy 300 was all about the number "200." It was the 200th race in IRL history. The drivers would be running 200 laps around the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway. And the speeds would be well above 200 mph as the field of 27 cars ran inches away from each other under the lights of Kentucky. Among those 27 drivers was last year's runner-up, Ed Carpenter, who still hasn't scored a full-time ride, and Paul Tracy, the fan favorite who seems to never get rusty. Maybe we'll have to start calling him Platinum Paul.

Last week's winner Dario Franchitti was making things interesting in the race for the championship by closing the gap to points leader Will Power who hasn't done as well as some of the others – including Franchitti – on ovals. Kentucky is an oval, of course, and so are Motegi and Miami, the final two races of the season. Would Power be able to get that monkey off his back? Would Franchitti take the win and close the gap even further? Would the talented and hard luck Ed Carpenter finally head to Victory Lane? Follow the jump to see how the 2010 Kentucky Indy 300 went down.


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[Images: Chris Graythen, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images | Ed Reinke, James Crisp/AP]


Qualifying was a series of two-lap runs – the series switching from four-lap averages to two last week in Chicago – with Hideki Mutoh showing the best time until Will Power hit the track. The Team Penske driver has been just about perfect all year and his qualifying run was more of the same. The very next driver, however, didn't have as much luck. Ryan Hunter-Reay looked to be going pretty quick when his car got loose between 1 and 2 and was up into the wall in a split second. That finished his qualifying run and caused a delay before the rest of the field was able to complete their runs.

When they did come back on track, the next driver up was Dan Wheldon, who is frequently at the front on ovals. He was again very quick, but not quick enough to catch Power. With just five drivers left to qualify, it was finally Ed Carpenter who nipped Power for the Peak Performance Pole. It was Carpenter's best qualifying run ever as he became the 34th different pole winner in IRL history.



Ryan Hunter-Reay was cleared to race on Saturday night and lined up at the back of the field. After a two-seater demonstration run by Arie Luyendyk and football star, Terrell Owens, Grand Marshal Rick Mears waved the flag for the start of the race. They didn't even make it around to complete the first lap before the hard-charging Tony Kanaan took the air off of Takuma Sato's rear, sending the hard-luck rookie into the wall and bringing out a full-course yellow. Ryan Hunter-Reay also spun in that incident, his car losing downforce when he had to get out of the throttle. Ryan didn't make any contact and was able to continue on after pitting to replace his flat-spotted tires.

When they finally got back to racing, Dan Wheldon slipped past Carpenter for the lead. Wheldon held the lead until the first round of stops between Laps 55-60, when Will Power took command. He led until Lap 80, when a multi-car crash once again brought out the yellow. It looked like Simona de Silvestro tried to edge down to let faster traffic through, but failed to notice Vitor Meira below her on the track. They also collected Ryan Briscoe before Simona's car slid back down the track and slammed into the inner wall as well. She was okay, but it was another scary moment for this so-far impressive rookie.


The top five at that moment were Power, Wheldon, Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon and Franchitti. Power had a bit of a scare a few laps later as a momentary lapse caused a wiggle that had Will slapping the wall and falling back about five spots in a split second. That gave Wheldon the lead once again. The running order stayed pretty consistent up front for another long block of laps until the second round of stops started around Lap 140. Although there weren't a lot of dramatic changes in the running order, that didn't mean the race was boring by any means. The in-car cameras showed some incredibly close action, just like last race in Chicago.

It's hard to explain how the regular camera shots make the cars look like they are circling in a uniform pack, the incredible speed being completely lost in the process – but those in-car shots show how hectic the racing actually is. The bumpy track and the changing airflow as the cars pass each other make those Dallaras dart and dance so much that the cars are sometimes three feet apart and then instantly touching wheels. It's the same effect you get watching the Blue Angels flying in formation.


With ten laps to go, it was Wheldon, Franchitti, Kanaan, Carpenter, Andretti, Dixon, Danica Patrick, Powrr, Castroneves and Tracy in the top ten...but it was looking increasingly likely that they would all have to stop one more time for a splash-and-go. The timing of the yellows and the scheduled stops had meant most of the field would fall about 4 laps short on fuel. Sure enough, with four to go, all of the leaders stopped – except Helio Castroneves. Helio had been slightly out of phase with the rest of the field and the driver who lost a tough decision earlier in the season was now having one handed to him. Helio took the win followed by Ed Carpenter, who was once again the bridesmaid in Kentucky.



Dario finished fourth, but more importantly a few spots ahead of Will Power, so the championship lead is now down to just 17 points as the IRL heads to Japan in two weeks for the Indy Japan 300 from Twin Ring Motegi. Join us then, and don't forget to check out the full results and standings below.


Related GalleryIndyCar: 2010 Kentucky Indy 300


Qualifying:
QP Car Driver Sponsor Team Time Speed
1 20 Ed Carpenter Panther Racing Panther Racing 48.8958 217.933
2 12 Will Power Verizon Team Penske Verizon Team Penske 48.9192 217.829
3 4 Dan Wheldon National Guard Panther Racing Panther Racing 48.9480 217.700
4 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing 48.9857 217.533
5 06 Hideki Mutoh Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman/Haas Racing 49.0214 217.374
6 34 Bertrand Baguette (R) Conquest Racing RACB Conquest Racing 49.1087 216.988
7 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology 49.1335 216.879
8 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Team Penske 49.1383 216.857
9 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Team Penske 49.1967 216.600
10 36 Tomas Scheckter Conquest Racing Conquest Racing 49.1991 216.589
11 10 Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing 49.2120 216.533
12 14 Vitor Meira ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises 49.2343 216.434
13 77 Alex Tagliani FAZZT Race Team FAZZT Race Team 49.2443 216.391
14 5 Takuma Sato (R) Lotus-KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology 49.2728 216.265
15 26 Marco Andretti Team Venom Energy Andretti Autosport 49.2939 216.173
16 22 Justin Wilson Team Z-Line Designs/DRR Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Mtrsprts 49.3462 215.944
17 7 Danica Patrick Team GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport 49.3744 215.820
18 19 Alex Lloyd (R) Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing 49.5001 215.272
19 78 Simona de Silvestro (R) Team Stargate Worlds/HVM HVM Racing 49.5621 215.003
20 2 Raphael Matos HP de Ferran Dragon de Ferran Dragon Racing 49.5747 214.948
21 67 Sarah Fisher Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing Sarah Fisher Racing 49.6059 214.813
22 8 E.J. Viso PDVSA KVRT KV Racing Technology 49.6564 214.595
23 24 Paul Tracy Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 49.7317 214.270
24 18 Milka Duno CITGO Dale Coyne Racing 49.9478 213.343
25 66 Graham Rahal Sarah Fisher Racing Sarah Fisher Racing 50.1781 212.364
26 11 Tony Kanaan Team 7-Eleven/Planters Andretti Autosport 50.5428 210.831
27 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Ethanol USA Team IZOD Andretti Autosport No Time No Speed


Finishing Order:
FP Car Driver Team Laps Time Status Points
1 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske 200 01:41:50.0059 Running 50
2 20 Ed Carpenter Panther Racing 200 01:42:03.1656 Running 41
3 4 Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 200 01:42:03.9273 Running 37
4 11 Tony Kanaan Andretti Autosport 200 01:42:03.9990 Running 32
5 10 Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing 200 01:42:04.2027 Running 30
6 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 200 01:42:04.5728 Running 28
7 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing 200 01:42:05.1084 Running 26
8 12 Will Power Team Penske 200 01:42:05.6201 Running 24
9 7 Danica Patrick Andretti Autosport 200 01:42:05.8553 Running 22
10 34 Bertrand Baguette Conquest Racing 199 01:41:50.7041 Running 20
11 22 Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 199 01:41:50.8787 Running 19
12 24 Paul Tracy Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 199 01:41:51.3788 Running 18
13 19 Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne Racing 199 01:41:51.5190 Running 17
14 36 Tomas Scheckter Conquest Racing 199 01:41:57.7329 Running 16
15 77 Alex Tagliani FAZZT Race Team 199 01:42:05.5071 Running 15
16 2 Raphael Matos de Ferran Dragon Racing 199 01:42:12.4922 Running 14
17 06 Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas Racing 199 01:42:13.1882 Running 13
18 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology 198 01:41:54.9770 Running 12
19 18 Milka Duno Dale Coyne Racing 195 01:42:05.5517 Running 12
20 02 Graham Rahal Newman/Haas Racing 195 01:42:10.9050 Running 12
21 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 174 01:31:09.2912 Mechanical 12
22 67 Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher Racing 134 01:18:57.3883 Mechanical 12
23 14 Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Enterprises 79 00:39:01.9765 Contact 12
24 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 79 00:39:02.0028 Contact 12
25 78 Simona De Silvestro Team Stargate Worlds/HVM 78 00:39:01.5320 Contact 10
26 8 E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology 45 00:24:37.1918 Mechanical 10
27 5 Takuma Sato KV Racing Technology 0 00:00:01.6515 Contact 10


Driver's Standings:
CP Driver Champ Lead Oval Lead Road Lead Points Gap
1 Will Power X X 552 0
2 Dario Franchitti 535 -17
3 Scott Dixon X 469 -83
4 Helio Castroneves 448 -104
5 Ryan Briscoe 418 -134
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 404 -148
7 Tony Kanaan 392 -160
8 Marco Andretti 347 -205
9 Dan Wheldon 346 -206
10 Justin Wilson 335 -217


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