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Pagenaud wins crash-filled IndyCar race

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE, Md. -- The IndyCar Series championship chase turned again Sunday with a crash-filled race won by Simon Pagenaud on the streets along the inner harbor.

Scott Dixon was the big loser, getting smashed against the wall when Will Power, whose car was in the middle of last week's pit road controversy, turned into him on the restart at Lap 53.

Dixon wasn't happy with the Team Penske driver, but he was even unhappier with race officials, who did not bring his Ganassi Racing machine back to pit road for repairs.

The result of the Grand Prix of Baltimore was that Dixon finished 19th among 24 drivers. He also lost ground to series leader Helio Castroneves, who now holds a 49-point lead with three races to go.

"We're fighting for every point at the moment," said Dixon, who was forced to serve a drive-through penalty last week at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway for hitting Power's outside tire changer. "There was a little bit of suspension damage, but it's something we could repair."

Power was penalized for the contact, one of several to incur a penalty from race control.

Power couldn't believe that it happened.

"I was just looking at (Sebastien) Bourdais' back," he said. "I had a good run on him, and I was going to go up on his inside. Dixon obviously had the same run on me.

"I just feel bad, man. Had I looked in my mirror, I just didn't even think to look in my mirror (because) I had such a good run on this guy. I was focused on him to pull out. I just feel bad for him; I know he's in the championship hunt. Man, just a bad thing to have happened, honestly."

When Power was shown the replay, he couldn't believe what he saw, because it was not a move he typically makes.

"I can't say anything but I'm so sorry to Scott," Power said. "He's not going to want to talk to me. Absolutely nothing intentional. I didn't know he was there. Just a very, very bad situation."

Oriol Servia also was penalized for locking up his front tires and hitting Bourdais' car in Turn 1. The race was a scramble from there. Now the championship is, too.

Castroneves actually expanded his series lead despite running into the back of Josef Newgarden's car, running into one of his own crew members and getting sandwiched in a Turn 1 accordion that started with Graham Rahal turning Dixon's car around.

Pagenaud had a big moment, too. He and Bourdais got locked in a run to a corner; Bourdais got their first, but Pagenaud tapped him. There was no penalty, and Bourdais wasn't happy about it.

Pagenaud won for both the second time this season and the second time in his career. The other victory was on the streets of Detroit back in June.

Newgarden finished second, the first time he's ended up in the top three in an IndyCar race. He drives for one of the smallest teams in the paddock, the one-car operation of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.

Bourdais finished third, with Justin Wilson fourth and Simona De Silvestro fifth on her 25th birthday.

Wilson had words for Bourdais regarding a late-race rear tap that sent him spinning, even though race control didn't issue a penalty.

"To me that's avoidable contact," Wilson said.

Charlie Kimball finished sixth with James Hinchcliffe seventh, Sebastian Saavedra eighth, Castroneves ninth and Marco Andretti 10th.

Dragon Racing, which employs Bourdais and Saavedra, was first and fourth in the late going but settled for one of its best days in the sport. Bourdais led 19 of the 75 laps.

Rookie Tristan Vautier finished 11th on the day he was put on probation for the rest of the season for not adhering to a local yellow in Turn 8 and running into the back of Rahal's parked car. Rahal had locked the brakes and overshot the corner.
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