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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Castroneves hangs on for victory

Associated Press

Helio Castroneves didn’t let this one get away.

One year after losing with the dominant car because Dan Wheldon’s gamble on fuel paid off, Castroneves dominated again Saturday night to win the SunTrust Indy Challenge, in the Indy Racing League’s annual visit to its shortest, diciest track, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

But danger chased “Spiderman” all the way to the end.

With nine laps to go, he was leading by about 3 seconds when Darren Manning and Roger Yasukawa made contact just ahead of him.

The contact sent Manning’s car skidding quickly into the outside wall, and then Yasukawa’s followed, but not before Castroneves was able to squeak by, with Yasukawa’s car missing Castroneves by mere inches.

It took eight laps to clean up the track, leaving just one for a green-flag finish, and Castroneves made easy work of runner-up Dario Franchitti, beating him to the checkered flag by 0.5588 seconds.

Rookie sensation Danica Patrick, who started 21st after a difficult first day on the three-quarter-mile oval, was never a factor but avoided the many mishaps that took out numerous top drivers and finished 10th.

Patrick Carpentier was third, followed by Tomas Scheckter and Wheldon, the points leader.

Champ cars

For the second straight year, Paul Tracy will start from the pole in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland. In this race, though, the inside of Row 1 isn’t always the place to be.

With temperatures reaching the 90s, Tracy blazed around the course in 57.419 seconds to secure the pole and a chance to be the first car into the course’s infamous Turn 1 – a traditional spot for mishaps and chaos.

A year ago, Tracy started on the pole but got knocked out of the race after sustaining damage when he was hit from behind by Justin Wilson, who was pushed into Tracy when Alex Tagliani tried a daring inside pass.

“We’ve had races where we’ve gotten through there without a problem,” said Tracy, whose only victory came at Cleveland in 1993. “And we’ve had six, seven, eight and nine cars taken out at once. I guess we’ll see what happens.”

Tracy, who has won two poles this season and 24 in his career, will start alongside Cristiano da Matta (57.424), who won his first Champ Car race in three years last week at Portland.

Two-time defending champion Sebastien Bourdais (57.559) and rookie Andrew Ranger (57.801) will be in Row 2.

•A helicopter crashed on an airport runway only a few hundred yards from thousands of auto racing fans attending the Grand Prix of Cleveland. The pilot was not hurt and walked away, and there were no injuries on the ground.

Busch Series

Pole-sitter Johnny Sauter overcame a black flag and led the final 80 laps for his third career Busch Series victory, winning the rain-shortened SBC 250 at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.

The race was shortened from 250 to 200 miles after a storm dumped heavy rain on the track.

Sauter easily had the fastest car. He led 162 of the 200 laps and won for just the third time in 123 Busch Series starts.

Martin Truex Jr. was second, and Paul Menard finished third. J.J. Yeley was fourth and David Stremme fifth as 10 cars were on the lead lap when the race was stopped.

Pikes Peak

David Donner won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Springs, Colo., beating more than 100 drivers by finishing the 12.4-mile sprint in 11 minutes, 15.68 seconds.

Racing in the open-wheel car class, Donner was more than a minute off the race record for reaching the 14,110-foot summit, but beat the unlimited class’ Koichi Horiuchi, who finished in 11:34.5.

“We’re here,” Donner said at the summit. “It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fast. I was watching the clock in my car going, ‘You have got to be kidding me. I’m going this slow.’ You know I’m so happy, thrilled to death with the team. We’re just thrilled, and this is absolutely spectacular.”

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