Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

Simon Pagenaud stays on hot streak with IndyCar win in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Simon Pagenaud once again won after getting a favorable ruling from race officials. This time, the runnerup didn't protest the no-call.

Pagenaud led most of the way Sunday and overcame late contact with Graham Rahal to win the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park for his second straight IndyCar victory.

The Frenchman lost the lead briefly after contact with Rahal. Pagenaud appeared to inch over, trying to block Rahal entering a right-hand turn, and Rahal made contact with the Team Penske driver's right rear with eight laps to go. Pagenaud, who also won last week at Long Beach, went into the grass but got back on track just behind Rahal.

Race stewards reviewed the incident and didn't impose a penalty. Pagenaud said he was a little steamed after that dustup. "I said, yeah, 'I'm going to get that one back no matter what,'" he said.

But he demurred when asked if IndyCar should have made a call one way or the other.

Last week, Scott Dixon believed Pagenaud should have been penalized for crossing a blend line as he returned to the track after a pit stop. IndyCar only issued a warning.

Sunday, Rahal called Pagenaud's move "a really solid block" but felt there was no doubt it was intentional. "I'm glad it was a no-call because for sure it's a racing incident," he said. "But you would never turn in where he turned in. He was purposefully trying to cut me off there."

St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais got a drive-through penalty after making contact early with Scott Dixon and was 16th.

NHRA: Brittany Force earned her second Top Fuel victory this season at the 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, N.C., becoming the first female driver to win the unique event, with a run of 3.764 seconds at 319.98 mph. Tim Wilkerson won in Funny Car, Jason Line in Pro Stock and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the series' lone event with a four-lane track.

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