- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2009

From combined dispatches

NEWTON, Iowa | Dario Franchitti was disappointed that Saturday’s qualifying for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 was canceled. He felt that a few late tweaks made to his No. 10 car had turned it into a “rocket ship.”

Franchitti settled instead for Sunday’s checkered flag - his second victory in two tries at Iowa Speedway.

Franchitti took the lead with 50 laps to go and cruised to victory in the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Franchitti beat Ryan Briscoe by just over five seconds to grab his first victory since Long Beach in April and move into second place in the IRL standings.

It was the 10th career IndyCar win for the Scot, who took the lead three laps after making his final pit stop on the 7/8-mile oval.

“In the last stop, the changes were fantastic and I was able to pull away - I had a good gap on [Briscoe],” Franchitti said. “I was able to get through traffic really well.”

Briscoe finished second for the third straight race despite leading for 85 laps. Hideki Mutoh took a season-best third after notching a career best of second in Iowa in 2008.

Dan Wheldon was fourth. Pole-sitter Helio Castroneves took seventh.

Briscoe maintained his lead in the points race - becoming the first driver this season to do so for more than one race. He’s three points ahead of Franchitti and 15 up on Scott Dixon, who finished fifth.

“I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong. We’re doing an extraordinary job as a whole team,” said Briscoe, who has led the most laps at each of his past three races. “It’s just going to be like this the rest of the season. It’s going to be very close.”

The start of the race was marred by a number of accidents and cautions. By the halfway point, seven cars had been knocked out - including Tony Kanaan, who had led for 48 laps.

Kanaan crashed for the third time at Iowa, this time by hitting the wall shortly after a pit stop. After three straight top-five finishes to start the season, Kanaan hasn’t finished three of his past four races.

Worse yet, Kanaan has crashed in the same corner three straight years at Iowa.

“I think it was a combination of the cold tires and me pushing a bit too hard,” Kanaan said.

Danica Patrick took her first lead of the season 38 laps in after Justin Wilson’s spinout brought out a yellow flag. Raphael Matos then spun out, and Mario Moraes lost control trying to avoid him, drawing the fourth caution of the day just 55 laps in. Patrick led for 24 laps but wound up ninth, her worst finish since taking 19th at St. Petersburg.

Vettel cruises

SILVERSTONE, England | Sebastian Vettel cruised to victory in the British Grand Prix, leading Red Bull to a 1-2 finish for the second time this season.

The 21-year-old German’s faultless 15.1-second win over teammate Mark Webber duplicated their finish at China in April. Both cars benefited from revamped aerodynamics.

“I had a fantastic car, it was unbelievable. I was able to push, push more,” said Vettel, whose car had a new nose, undertray and diffuser. “It shows we are going the right way. I’d like it if we could finish the season like that, but this circuit suits our car.

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