Franchitti inches closer to Powerposted in INDY05 | 09 | 2010

    BATHGATE'S Dario Franchitti battled through from 11th on the grid to lie second in the latest round of the IndyCar Championship at Kentucky, but with just a few laps remaining a late splash-and-dash dropped the Scot to fifth.

    But the 37-year-old left the 1.5-mile superspeedway mildly content, knowing he heads into the final two races having closed the gap further to championship leader Will Power to just 17 points.

    "The main thing to take out of this weekend is we're closer to Will than I was when we started the race," Franchitti said after seeing Power's Penske drop to eventually finish eighth. "Two races to go and just 17 points the difference. I think it's going to go down to the wire again."

    If that's going to favour anyone, it's Franchitti and his experienced Target Ganassi team. His two IndyCar crowns in 2007 and '09 have come in dramatic last-lap moments of the final race of the season. With his greater experience of the championship run-in — Aussie Power has never won the title — he heads to Motegi in Japan, and Homestead in Florida favourite to be crowned for a third time.

    Brazilian Helio Castroneves took advantage of a clever fuel strategy by his Penske team to win by 13.1597secs — an almost unheard of distance on an oval, considering Franchitti won by just 0.423s at Chicacgo last weekend — ahead of Ed Carpenter's Panther, with Dan Wheldon third.

    The Englishman, who was bidding to win for the first time since 2008, was just 0.0717s ahead of Tony Kanaan in fourth, with Franchitti 0.2037s further back.

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