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APRIL 20, 2008

Danica wins Motegi!

It has taken a while to get there, but Danica Patrick finally won an Indycar race with victory in the rain-delayed Indy Japan 300 at Motegi, taking the chequered flag nearly six seconds ahead of Penske's Helio Castroneves. The two Target Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon were third and fourth with Patrick's Andretti Green Racing team-mate Tony Kanaan fifth. For the Indy Racing League this is the best possible publicity as attention will soon turn to the biggest event of the year, the Indianapolis 500.

The win lifts Patrick to third in the IRL championship behind Castroneves and Dixon.

Patrick's victory is the first by a woman in the history of the series and the first major international victory for a lady racer in a single-seater race in the modern era.

It was Patrick's 50th IRL race and it came in style as Patrick surged to victory in the final laps of the race, running on the same strategy as Castroneves.

"When I passed him for the lead, I couldn't believe it," she said. "This is fabulous."