MOTEGI, Japan (AP)—Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history Sunday, taking the Indy Japan 300 after the top contenders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps.Yahoo
Patrick finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval after leader Scott Dixon pitted with five laps left and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan came in a lap later.
“It’s a long time coming. Finally,” Patrick said. “It was a fuel strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I knew I was on the same strategy as Helio and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn’t believe it. This is fabulous.”
The 26-year-old Patrick won in her 50th career IndyCar start, taking the lead from Castroneves on the 198th lap in the 200-lap race.
“I think Danica is such a fantastic person and I’m thrilled for her that the monkey is finally off of her back,” said Michael Andretti, co-owner of Andretti Green Racing. “We have all believed in her and she proved today that she is a winner. Frankly, I think this is the first of many.”
She was so close before this and could never quite get there. Now she'll always have at least the one win to show for her time in the IRL. Winning is an amazing thing.