MOTEGI, Japan -- Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history today, taking the Indy Japan 300 after the top contenders were forced to pit for fuel during the final laps.
Patrick finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves on the 1.5-mile 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. "I was managing to save fuel and keep the speed up and when I saw Helio I knew he was the one to beat."
The 26-year-old Patrick won in her 50th career IndyCar start.
"Thank you to Andretti Green. Thanks to my teammates," she said.
Dixon took the lead from Castroneves on the 93rd lap in the race rescheduled for today because of wet track conditions Saturday, but gave up the spot to pit for fuel.