SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — For Helio Castroneves, his first win in 30 races was a matter of faith.

Known as Spider Man for his fence-climbing celebrations, Castroneves acknowledged that he checked out the best place to make his climb just in case he won Sunday's Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.

"I did, actually," Castroneves said. "There were photographers there and I told them exactly where I was going to go. I said, 'Right there. Make sure you wait for me there.' It's just a positive attitude."

The victory did more than break a winless string stretching back to the St. Petersburg race on April 1, 2007. It also put Castroneves squarely back into a championship duel with IndyCar Series leader Scott Dixon that looked like a lost cause before Sunday.

Dixon suffered through one of his worst days of the season, finishing 12th, and saw his lead shrink from a seemingly comfortable 78 points to 43 heading into next week's race at Detroit's Belle Isle, the penultimate race of the season.