Helio happy as new IndyCar points leader

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Third-place finisher Helio Castroneves couldn’t hold off Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon in the final stages of today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, but in the big picture, he was still a winner as he moved into first place in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.

After dropping four positions in a frenzied opening lap of the race, Castroneves and his No. 3 Team Penske crew opted to change their strategy. The Brazilian pitted relatively early on Lap 18, but rose up to third position when the other leaders made their first stops roughly ten laps later. He would stay up front for the rest of the afternoon through stops at Laps 42 and 67, and paced 25 laps before Hunter-Reay got to the inside of him on Lap 76 and grabbed the point for good coming out of Turn 5.

“That was a shame on the start, but when we changed to Plan B, we just decided to go for it,” Castroneves said. “It paid off and it wasn’t a win but for us, for the championship, it is good and right now, we just have to keep going. We need to keep going and you have to put yourself out there…and that is what we just did today.”

Not helping Castroneves in his bid to stay at P1 was the fact that he was running the Firestone primary blacks during his final stint, while Hunter-Reay and Dixon ended their races on the alternate reds. Castroneves felt it was an unavoidable consequence of his team’s strategy decision.

“That’s the price we paid,” he told NBC Sports Network after the race.

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup