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St. Petersburg Sebastien Bourdais wins IndyCar doubleheader opener

St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais celebrates in Toronto after his first major open-wheel victory since 2007.

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St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais celebrates in Toronto after his first major open-wheel victory since 2007.

TORONTO — Sebastien Bourdais waited out the rain, then took care of a winless drought.

Bourdais, a St. Petersburg resident, dominated from the pole at Toronto in the first IndyCar series race of a Sunday doubleheader, cruising to his first open-wheel victory since 2007.

The race was shortened to 65 laps after rain wiped out Saturday's race. In Sunday's second race, Mike Conway took the lead late and pulled away to win a timed race, which was shortened by more rain.

Bourdais, in his first season with KVSH Racing, earned his first podium finish this year and first victory since the 2007 Champ Car season finale in Mexico City, which capped the last of his four championship campaigns in that series.

"It just went perfect from green to checkered flag," Bourdais said.

After his 32nd open-wheel win — eighth all-time, breaking a tie with Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti — Bourdais stood on his car and raised his arms. He hugged his wife, Claire, and two children who weren't born when he ruled Champ Car.

The Frenchman lived in St. Petersburg during his days in Champ Car, in which he won four consecutive titles from 2004-07. He moved to Europe for an ill-fated two-year stint in Formula One, then moved back to St. Petersburg — in the same house — when he returned.

Sunday's first race came to an almost immediate halt when a multicar crash led to a red flag on Lap 1. After a long delay racing resumed with Bourdais leading. He never looked back, leading all but seven of 65 laps.

"It's really sweet. It was one where the stars aligned," Bourdais said.

In Race 2, Conway gambled and made an early stop to remove his rain tires on a drying track before a late restart. He came from fifth to first and led the final seven of 56 laps.

Late Saturday: Chase Elliott held off Trevor Bayne for his third Nationwide Series win of 2014 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The rookie also took the lead in the standings by seven points over Regan Smith, who finished 16th.

Formula One: Nico Rosberg won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim to stretch his points lead over Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third after starting 20th. Valtteri Bottas of Williams held off Hamilton for second. Rosberg, the first German to win at Hockenheim since Michael Schumacher in 2006, leads Hamilton 190-176 in the standings.

NHRA: J.R. Todd earned his first Top Fuel win since 2008 at the Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colo. Robert Hight (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won.

St. Petersburg Sebastien Bourdais wins IndyCar doubleheader opener 07/20/14 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2014 8:39pm]
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