Rahal wins exciting, tense MAVTV 500 under yellow (VIDEO)

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Graham Rahal has won what was an at times thrilling, at times tense and nerve-wracking MAVTV 500 under yellow, following a severe looking accident between Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay with two laps to go.

Rahal was just ahead of Tony Kanaan when the caution flew. It breaks a seven-year winless drought for the driver of the No. 15 Mi-Jack/Steak ‘n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, dating to the 2008 race at St. Petersburg, and a seven-year drought for the RLL team since Hunter-Reay’s win at Watkins Glen later that year.

WATCH: Full replay of Saturday’s race

Arguably the most controversial moment of the race occurred when following a pit stop, Rahal was released with a portion of the fuel buckeye still attached, but was subject to a post-race penalty rather than one in-race.

Rahal’s comments first in victory lane: “Our weakness has been these ovals. The next 3 races are going to define our year. I knew we were good in race trim. I can’t thank Mike and Dave and my dad for all believing in me. Steak ‘n Shake is the good luck charm. D-A Lubricants. You don’t know how good this feels. So long coming.

“When we went back to 16th I was a little worried. I knew my car was good. It wasn’t quick up front. I wasn’t as good as the Chevys.”

Meanwhile here was Derrick Walker, the president of competition of operations, commenting to NBCSN: “The stewards looked at that and they considered it was a post race penalty. It certainly looked pretty scary there. There will be a penalty I can assure. It just didn’t affect the competition on track.”

The Briscoe/RHR accident with two to go was the second severe accident inside of 10 laps, with the other involving Will Power and Takuma Sato.

Controversy about Rahal’s race and the scary accidents ending aside, Saturday’s race could easily be considered one of the best IndyCar races in recent memory, if not all-time.

The race set a record number of lead changes, with 80, eclipsing the previous mark of 73 set in the CART season finale held November 4, 2001.

There were 14 of the 23 drivers who started who led the race at one stage or another.

Until the last 50 to 75 laps, it had been a fairly clean race. The first half of the race ran entirely caution-free, and there wasn’t the first caution until Lap 136 when Helio Castroneves got squeezed in-between Power and Briscoe on the backstraight, which sent him into a spin.

And then it all boiled down to a series of late-race restarts, where it became a question of who would edge ahead and who could survive the potential and likely carnage.

Rahal won, and the drought snapped a 124-race winless streak as mentioned above.

With Marco Andretti in third, it marked the first time both drivers have been on the same podium in their IndyCar careers.

Juan Pablo Montoya extended his points lead with fourth and rising star Sage Karam completed the top five.

It was a fascinating day and one we’ll likely be talking about for a while, for various reasons.

Results are below.

FONTANA, Calif. – Results Saturday of the MAVTV 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1.  (19) Graham Rahal, Honda, 250, Running
2.  (6) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 250, Running
3.  (3) Marco Andretti, Honda, 250, Running
4.  (5) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 250, Running
5.  (10) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 250, Running
6.  (7) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 250, Running
7.  (23) James Jakes, Honda, 250, Running
8.  (13) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 250, Running
9.  (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 250, Running
10.  (17) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 250, Running
11.  (11) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 250, Running
12.  (21) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 250, Running
13.  (22) Pippa Mann, Honda, 250, Running
14.  (15) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 250, Running
15.  (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 249, Contact
16.  (16) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 249, Contact
17.  (20) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 246, Running
18.  (9) Takuma Sato, Honda, 241, Contact
19.  (8) Will Power, Chevrolet, 241, Contact
20.  (18) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 237, Running
21.  (12) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 161, Contact
22.  (4) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 157, Contact
23.  (2) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 136, Contact

Race Statistics
Winners average speed:  168.846
Time of Race: 02:57:40.6179
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 6 for 46 laps
Lead changes: 80 among 14 drivers
Lap Leaders:
Castroneves 1 – 2
Montoya 3
Castroneves 4 – 7
Andretti 8 – 14
Kanaan 15
Andretti 16 – 21
Kanaan 22 – 23
Karam 24
Kanaan 25
Karam 26 – 29
Kanaan 30 – 33
Andretti 34 – 35
Power 36
Sato 37 – 38
Kanaan 39 -40
Andretti 41 -43
Montoya 44 – 46
Sato 47 – 51
Dixon 52 – 54
Sato 55 – 69
Kanaan 70
Sato 71 – 72
Dixon 73
Power 74 – 76
Castroneves 77 – 79
Power 80
Castroneves 81 – 83
Power 84 – 85
Castroneves 86 -94
Power 95
Castroneves 96
Power 97 – 98
Kanaan 99
Power 100 – 101
Kanaan 102 – 105
Sato 106
Power 107
Sato 108 – 109
Carpenter 110 – 111
Dixon 111 -112
Power 113
Castroneves 114 – 116
Briscoe 117
Castroneves 118 – 135
Rahal 136 – 138
Power 139 – 153
Pagenaud 154 – 156
Munoz 157 – 169
Power 170 – 172
Munoz 173
Sato 174
Power 175
Sato 176 – 178
Kanaan 179 – 182
Rahal 183
Kanaan 184 – 185
Andretti 186 – 187
Montoya 188
Power 189 – 1994
Andretti 195 – 200
Power 201
Dixon 202
Hunter-Reay 203 – 205
Briscoe 206
Kanaan 207
Briscoe 208
Power 209 – 212
Andretti 213
Power 214
Andretti 215
Power 216 – 217
Andretti 218
Power 219 – 220
Andretti 221 – 222
Power 223 – 227
Rahal 228
Power 229 – 235
Briscoe 236
Power 237
Briscoe 238 – 240
Rahal 241 – 250

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Montoya 407, Power 361, Dixon 358, Rahal 334, Castroneves 330, Andretti 308, Bourdais 290, Kanaan 285, Newgarden 277, Pagenaud 256.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.