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Season wraps up this weekend at Sparta

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By Brian Blair

The curtain will come down on the 2009 racing season at Kentucky Speedway this weekend.

The season concludes with the “Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Red Baron and Edy’s” taking to the track at 8:30 Saturday night.

Helio Castroneves, Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan are all expected to take part in the race.

A year ago, it was Dixon who overtook Castroneves on the final turn of the final lap to capture the checkered flag. Dixon will look to become the third driver to become a repeat winner in the race. Buddy Lazier won the first two races, which were in 2000 and 2001. Sam Hornisch Jr. won in 2003 and 2006.

On Sunday in Edmonton, Will Power picked up his first win on the IndyCar Series by taking the checkered flag in the Rexall Edmonton Indy. The Australian started on the pole and led 90 of the race’s 95 laps. Castroneves finished second and Scott Dixon finished third.

With his third-place finish in Canada, Dixon takes the lead in the points standings, overtaking Franchitti by three points heading to Kentucky. Ryan Briscoe is third while Castroneves and Patrick round out the top five.

The weekend will get under way Friday with practice sessions by both the IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights. Both series will run on Saturday. The IndyCar Series race can be seen on Versus.

Fans who get to the track early can enjoy a concert by the group Carolina Lair.

Race Notes

• The race could be the final race for Patrick at the track in the IndyCar Series. Rumors circulating around the sport suggest that Patrick is seeking a ride next season in the Sprint Cup Series. Patrick has not denied an interest but suggests that she is at the present firmly entrenched in the IndyCar Series.

• Another female driver, Sarah Fisher, will once again be at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night. Fisher won the pole in the 2002 making her the first female driver to capture the pole in a major open wheel competition.

• In the nine previous races at Kentucky Speedway, the race has been won by an American driver five times. Buddy Lazier and Hornisch have each won twice while Scott Sharp has one victory. Two Brazilians, Felipe Giaffone and Tony Kanaan, have won the race.  One Australian, Dixon and one Mexican, Adrian Fernandez have both taken the checkered flag.

• The IndyCar Series race in Sparta has been a good one for cars with Honda engines. Since Oldsmobile engines took the first races and then Chevrolet the next two, Honda engines have captured the last five races at the track.

• Hideki Mutoh will be hoping to qualify for the IndyCar Series race on Saturday night. Mutoh won the Firestone Indy Lights race in 2007.