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Pagenaud prevails in caution-filled race at Baltimore
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Simon Pagenaud claimed his second career win in the IndyCar Series after surviving a wild and crash-filled Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sunday.
There were six cautions for accidents during this 75-lap race on the 2.4-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit in downtown Baltimore. Almost every car in the 24-car field sustained some damage.
Pagenaud, who drives the No. 77 car for Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports this season, managed to avoid being caught up in any one of the numerous multi-car wrecks. The 29-year-old Frenchman passed Marco Andretti for the lead on lap 69 and then crossed the finish line 4.2 seconds ahead of Josef Newgarden to become the third different winner in as many IndyCar races at Baltimore.
"The car was fantastic," Pagenaud said. "We got very lucky on the restarts. We didn't get collected. I pushed hard on the last restart against Marco (Andretti) and TK (Tony Kanaan)."
Pagenaud's first IndyCar win came in race 2 of the weekend doubleheader in Detroit three months ago.
With the win, Pagenaud moved up to third in the championship standings. He is 70 points behind leader, Helio Castroneves, who scored his 15th top-10 finish this season with a ninth-place run. Castroneves bounced back from a penalty he received for avoidable contact during a late-race restart. The Team Penske driver also had to serve a penalty for a pit-lane safety violation when he struck his right-front tire changer. Doug Snyder, the tire changer, was not injured during the incident.
There are three races remaining. The series is holding it's third and final doubleheader weekend of the season on the first weekend in October at Houston's Reliant Park. The season concludes on Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
"There are still a lot of points in the game. I'll take what I can get," Castroneves said.
Scott Dixon, who won the pole on Saturday, entered this race 38 points behind Castroneves, but Dixon was involved in a multi-car wreck after a restart in the late going. Will Power bumped into Dixon and put him into the barrier. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver ended up finishing 19th, one spot behind Power. He remained second in the standings but trails Castroneves by 49 points.
Power, who won the inaugural race in Baltimore two years ago, grabbed the lead from Dixon on the opening lap and went on to lead a race-high 31 laps before his incident with Dixon. Power won his first race of the season last weekend in Sonoma, Calif. Dixon finished 15th there after he was penalized with a pit- lane safety violation for making contact with one of Power's crew members in the pits late in the event. Dixon had led the most laps at Sonoma with 27 and was in front of the field when IndyCar officials handed him the controversial penalty.
In wake of Dixon's incident at Sonoma, IndyCar announced days before the Baltimore race that it had revised it rules for drivers and crew members in the pit area. Officials added point-of-reference "courtesy zones" to the outside edges of each pit box.
Newgarden, the 2011 Indy Lights champion, made his first podium appearance in IndyCar with his second-place run.
"I really wanted to give Simon a run for his money," Newgarden said. "I think I had the pace for him, but I just had no brakes left."
Sebastien Bourdais finished third after starting 22nd. Bourdais led a total of 19 laps. Justin Wilson placed fourth, followed by Simona De Silvestro.
Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Sebastian Saavedra were sixth through eighth, respectively. Andretti completed the top-10.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the defending IndyCar champion and last year's winner in Baltimore, finished 33 laps behind in 20th after he suffered a mechanical issue. Dario Franchitti also experienced a mechanical problem early in the race. Franchitti, the four-time series titleholder, finished 21st.
09/01 18:46:12 ET
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