Dario Franchitti took the lead with 50 laps to go and cruised to victory in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on Sunday, earning his second win in two trips to Iowa Speedway.
Franchitti beat Ryan Briscoe by just over five seconds to take his first checkered flag since the Streets of 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.
Briscoe finished second for the third straight race despite leading for 85 laps. Hideki Mutoh took third. Dan Wheldon was fourth, while 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.
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 last four races.
Worse yet, Kanaan has crashed in the same corner three straight years at Iowa.
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 the opener in St. Petersburg.
Castroneves hit Dixon from behind on lap 18, forcing Castroneves into pit row for a new right wing and Dixon for new tires.
E.J. Viso's No. 13 car got loose during the first lap and hit the wall, knocking him out for the seventh time in seven races. Ryan Hunter-Reay, in his first race for A.J. Foyt Racing, got caught up in the debris and couldn't continue.
Heavy rain swept through central Iowa on Sunday morning, but was gone about three hours before the start of the race. There were lingering concerns over whether "weepers" _ water that seeps up through the track following heavy precipitation _ would delay the race, but it started on time.
The race was reminiscent of the inaugural event in 2007, which also featured a number of yellow flags and Franchitti on the podium.
Water on the backstretch had forced IRL officials to call off qualifying on Saturday and start the field on entrant points.