Pagenaud wins crash-filled Grand Prix of Baltimore
BALTIMORE (AP) — Simon Pagenaud emerged as the winner of a collision-marred Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sunday, charging to the lead after a series of mishaps involving several other contenders — including one involving rivals Scott Dixon and Will Power.
It was the second career win for Pagenaud, both this year. The 29-year-old Frenchman became the third driver to win in three years on the bumpy, challenging street course that runs through the middle of the city.
Josef Newgarden was second, the best finish of his career, and Sebastien Bourdais took third.
Last week at Sonoma, Dixon led until he received a drive-through penalty with 15 laps to go for hitting a tire in the left hand of Power’s tire holder. Dixon won the race.
In this one, Power swerved right in a crowd in front of Dixon during a restart on the 53rd lap. Power clipped the wall, and Dixon lost control and smacked into the wall, ending his day.
Power made it to the pit, but he was given a penalty for interference and finished 18th, one spot ahead of Dixon.
The restart came after a pileup on the turn in front of the baseball stadium. On Lap 48, Graham Rahal spun Dixon and created a logjam involving five cars.
Minutes before that, IndyCar points leader Helio Castroneves received a black flag for a safety violation during a restart. Castroneves finished ninth.
Tony Kanaan, the Indianapolis 500 winner, made IndyCar history by participating in his 212th consecutive race. He eclipsed the mark held by Jimmy Vasser while driving in the No. 11 Chevrolet for Vasser’s KV Racing team. Kanaan hit the wall near the end of the race and finished 15th.
Ryan Hunter-Reay fell off the pace early with an electronics issue and never recovered. The defending Grand Prix of Baltimore champion was forced to withdraw from the race after 42 laps with mechanical difficulties.
“It just died all of a sudden,” he said.
Hunter-Reay started the day in third place in the point standings, 70 points behind Castroneves.
“To see the championship slip away, it’s frustrating,” he said.
James Jakes and Takuma Sato dropped out of the race early with mechanical difficulties. Luca Filippi followed, and Dario Franchitti broke down for good after 22 laps. It was a particularly bad day for Franchitti, who before the race received a 10-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change.
Before the race, IndyCar officials placed rookie Tristan Vautier on probation and fined him $10,000 for actions during qualifying on Saturday, when his car made contact with the car driven by Graham Rahal under a waving yellow flag condition.