Franchitti (And Ashley Judd) Biggest Star In Long Beach

Saturday, the cameras were on Keanu Reeves at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Sunday they were on Ashley Judd.

They were focused on her because her husband, Dario Franchitti, dominated the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Calif., winning the first IndyCar race ever at the historic street course. He had finished second in Long Beach twice more than a decade ago but it took a race on his wife’s birthday to win.

Well, that and becoming part of Target Chip Ganassi racing — it was that team that beat Franchitti both times he finished second in Long Beach before. Last year Franchitti ran in NASCAR for the first part of the season for Ganassi — until the team had to be shut down due to sponsorship issues.

Franchitti and Will Power, who started together on the front row, were right at the front of the pack the entire race. But Franchitti seemed to have more car, pulling away more and more each lap the second half of the race. Despite a late crash that led to the pace car being back out and only eight laps left after everything went green, Franchitti beat Power by more than 3 seconds. Power said after the race was low on fuel and had to be in a conservation mode for the end of the race.

Power still had a fantastic weekend — he was on the pole and finished second despite being bumped from the car he had practiced in on Friday when Helio Castroneves was acquitted on tax evasion charges and flew in for the race.

That was not enough to get him a ride next weekend in Kansas City with Team Penske. He is scheduled to race the Indianapolis 500 with Penske, and said he wants to stay with the team and is not looking at any other options right now.

The biggest move of the day came from Danica Patrick, who moved up from starting on the last row to finish fourth. That is her best finish ever on a street course/

Castroneves finished seventh and will be racing for the Team Penske next weekend in Kansas City.

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