Saturday, June 16, 2018
Sports

Pagenaud earns controversial IndyCar win at Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Simon Pagenaud earned his first victory as a Team Penske driver on Sunday, holding off Scott Dixon in a caution-free Grand Prix of Long Beach.

But the result was controversial, as Dixon and his Chip Ganassi Racing team believed Pagenaud should have been penalized for crossing a blend line as he returned to the track after a pit stop. IndyCar only gave Pagenaud a warning.

"They told us with the steward system this year there would be no warnings," Ganassi team manager Mike Hull said during the race. "What we were told in the driver meeting that if anyone did that, there would be a penalty. They didn't tell us what the penalty was, but he shouldn't be leading the race."

Dixon, the 2015 Long Beach winner, wanted to see a clearer replay, but he also disagreed with the warning. "There's meant to be no warnings, so I don't know what that's all about," he said.

IndyCar issued a statement saying that Pagenaud committed an infraction of its "lane usage" rule and that punishments range from a warning to a stop-and-go in the pits or a drive-through penalty. The three stewards, including new chief steward Dan Davis, "determined his actions were not deemed severe enough to warrant a harsher penalty than the warning that was issued."

Pagenaud, meanwhile, didn't think he did anything wrong, though video did indeed show his wheels over the yellow blend line as he came off pit road.

"It was an inch on the race track there, so I'm good," said Pagenaud. "The left sides on the right side of the dots, which it is, so I'm good."

When told IndyCar had issued him a warning, the Frenchman said: "I don't care."

Formula One: Nico Rosberg of Mercedes escaped unscathed from a wild first lap at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai and went on to his third straight victory to start the season and sixth straight dating to 2015. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was second, 37.7 seconds behind Rosberg.

East Bay Raceway: Matt Kurtz won the Eagle Jet Top Gun Sprints main event Saturday in Gibsonton.

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