Simon Pagenaud holds off Scott Dixon to win Honda Indy Toronto

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Simon Pagenaud may have led nearly every lap of the Honda Indy Toronto from start to finish, but Scott Dixon put up a fight as the laps began to wind down in Sunday’s 85-lap event.

Pagenaud saw his lead of over six seconds slowly become smaller and smaller as he had to slow his pace in order to save fuel. Dixon, in second place, began eating into Pagenaud’s lead, eventually coming as close as a half-second to the Indy 500 winner.

However with the help of lapped traffic and a last lap crash by his teammate Will Power that would end the race under caution, Pagenaud was able to claim his third victory of the season.

“[It’s] not the way I love to race, but Chevy did a great, great job of giving us an update this weekend and it really paid off,” Pagenaud told NBC Sports following the race. “Obviously, on the fuel, it was tremendous.

“The car was fast all day. I never really got in trouble with anyone, so I’m just delighted. It was a pure, perfect execution from the Penske team.”

Dixon, the 2018 winner of the race, would have to settle for second.

“It felt like once we go to the blacks [Firestone tire compound], our car was really good. We were able to close in on Simon,” Dixon said. “It’s just so hard to pass here.

“I felt like we really just weren’t able to get close enough to get a good run on the straights. The PNC guys are super strong, but we just didn’t have enough to make the pass.”

Alexander Rossi finished third, while series points leader Josef Newgarden finished fourth. Newgarden leaves Toronto with a four point lead over Rossi in the standings.

Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, finished the race in the fifth position, with Canadian favorite James Hinchcliffe finished in sixth.

Colton Herta, Sebastian Bourdais, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti rounded out the top 10.

The race that ended under a full-course caution also began with a caution on the first lap, when Will Power and Graham Rahal made contact in Turn 8. Matheus Leist, Marcus Ericsson, and Marco Andretti were also involved, though all driver’s cars suffered minimal damage and would continue to compete in the race.

For many fans, however, the highlight of the day came before the race even started, when Robert Wickens drove in public for the first time since a vicious crash at Pocono Raceway last year that seriously injured the 30-year-old Canadian.

With fiancée Karli Woods in the passenger seat, Wickens raced around the 11-turn, 1.786-mile Exhibition Place street course to the cheers of the crowd in an Acura NSX modified with special hand controls.

Wickens, who intends to someday race again, gave the starting command “future drivers of mine, start your engines!” before making another lap around the track as the field began the first pace lap.

The NTT IndyCar Series now returns to America’s Heartland for some Saturday night short track racing under the lights at Iowa Speedway on July 20. Live race coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full race results

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Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

Petit Le Mans championship
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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”