Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Pagenaud earns first IndyCar victory at Detroit

DETROIT — Simon Pagenaud took advantage of a series of restarts, making moves each time to thrive in a crash-filled Detroit Grand Prix for his first IndyCar victory.

The Frenchman finished 5.6 seconds in front of James Jakes on Sunday in the second of two races over the weekend on Belle Isle.

"Luckily enough, my reflexes are pretty sharp," Pagenaud said.

The reigning series rookie of the year hadn't finished better than second in 39 IndyCar and Champ Car races, a fact he thought about toward the end.

"Those last two laps were very emotional in the car, but I kept saying, 'Keep pushing,' " he recalled. "When I crossed the finish line, it was a sweet moment."

Jakes said the start-and-stop nature of the race hurt his chances of winning.

"Whenever we managed to get in a rhythm, the yellow flags kept coming out," said Jakes, who still earned his first podium. His best finish had been eighth, last year at Toronto.

Mike Conway, who won Saturday's race, finished third.

Marco Andretti finished sixth and tied Helio Castroneves (eighth) for the points lead. Castroneves had taken the lead from Andretti on Saturday.

Pagenaud's Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports was another lesser-known team to win in 2013. Six drivers, including three first-time winners, have won in seven races — and powerhouses Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing remained winless.

St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais was penalized for avoidable contact with Will Power and finished 11th. Fellow Frenchman Triatan Vautier, who also lives in St. Petersburg, led a lap and finished 14th.

NHRA: Shawn Langdon won the Summernationals in Englishtown, N.J., for his third Top Fuel victory this season, beating teammate Khalid alBalooshi in the final. Langdon had a run of 3.853 seconds at 316.38 mph in the final and took the season points lead. Matt Hagan topped the Funny Car field to also take the points lead, Mike Edwards earned his third Pro Stock victory of 2013 and Michael Ray won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

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