Helio Castroneves held off Scott Dixon to win the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, coasting to the finish line after coming off caution with two laps to go.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner took over in the stretch run when Marco Andretti headed to pit road with seven laps to go. Castroneves treated the new IndyCar venue to his " Spiderman" move, climbing a chain link fence in front of the grandstands and pumping his fists to the fans.

Castroneves won by just over half a second over Dixon and nobody else was closer than 7 seconds to the lead, making it a two-man chase at the end. He didn't offer any opening for Dixon to get by him on a narrow track that offers few easy spots to pass and makes pit strategy as important as any daring on-track maneuvers.

Dario Franchitti was third. Will Power had won the first two races and was dominant in qualifying and practice but had to settle for fourth, still comfortably hanging onto his points lead.

It was another big day for Penske Racing even with Power failing to become the first driver to win the opening three IndyCar races. Castroneves, Power and Ryan Briscoe made up half the top six. Danica Patrick continued to struggle, finishing 19th -- right where she started.

Mike Conway started in a career-best No. 2 spot and finished ninth.

Castroneves had plenty to celebrate, winning for the third time since returning to the car from his acquittal on tax charges last year. It was the 17th career victory for the charismatic Brazilian and former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant.

Castroneves got his first win as a father. Girlfriend Adriana gave birth to daughter Mikaella on Dec. 28.

Castroneves also treated some fans to a show before the race and his celebratory fence scaling. A couple of hours before the event, he joked with NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley -- the event's grand marshal -- and obligingly posed for pictures with fans outside the Penske hauler.

Power started on the pole and led 12 laps before taking a pit stop. Andretti was up front for 58 laps, raising hopes of his first win for team owner and father, Mario Andretti, since his rookie season in 2006 at Infineon.

Spectators lined the trackside hills for the first IndyCar event in a state long dominated by NASCAR races at Talladega about 20 minutes down Interstate 20. The 7-year-old track, initially built for motorcycle races, drew praise from drivers for the scenery but also the assessment that the narrow layout would provide scant opportunities to pass without risky moves.

It proved true in a race with no significant mishaps and only a handful of near-misses. Both cautions, totaling five laps, came because of mechanical troubles not dustups.

There were seven lead changes and three leaders.

The first caution came early when Takuma Sato's car stopped on lap 12 with a broken throttle cable. It spoiled what could have been a big day after he started sixth in just his third IndyCar race.

Simona de Silvestro's late car troubles prompted the second caution.