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Lowndes, Richards conquer Mount Panorama for Bathurst 1000 win

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Craig Lowndes has captured his sixth career win at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, co-driving to victory Sunday with Steven Richards in the No. 888 Red Bull Team Australia Holden in the marquee event of the Australian V8 Supercars season. It’s Richards’ fourth win at Bathurst, as well.

Lowndes held off Ford’s Mark Winterbottom – the championship leader – in the final stages of the 161-lap, 1000-kilometer race that ran over six hours on historic Mount Panorama.

Both cars started poorly – the No. 888 car started 15th while Winterbottom and Steve Owen’s No. 5 Pepsi Max Crew Ford was 14th – but over the course of the race they moved forward.

The climax to the race came when the second Red Bull Holden, driven by Jamie Whincup, didn’t pit under the final safety car period and was ultimately issued a drive-through penalty for improper safety car procedure (passing the pace car). Whincup and Paul Dumbrell dropped to 18th overall and last on the lead lap as a result.

Once Lowndes was into the lead late, he held on to the finish.

There were a couple accidents of note. DJR Team Penske’s Scott Pye had a heavy one late in the race.

Additionally, the all-female lineup of Renee Gracie and Simona de Silvestro still made the finish in 21st following a first-hour shunt by Gracie, as she appeared to lose control over some oil on track.

The usually unflappable de Silvestro did not appear amused at the incident (see below).

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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