Auto racing roundup: Rahal barely wins IndyCar race after last-lap pass
Sat., Aug. 27, 2016
Graham Rahal made a last-lap pass and just held on to beat James Hinchcliffe in the closest finish for an IndyCar race at Texas.
The only time Rahal led the race – competed over a 2 1/2-month span – was when he sliced to the bottom of the track coming off of the backstretch on that final lap Saturday night. He won by eight-thousandths of a second, crossing the line only inches and side-by-side with Hinchcliffe, with Tony Kanaan right behind them.
Rahal almost celebrated a bit too early, pumping a fist over his head just before crossing the checkered flag with Hinchcliffe right beside him and still making a final push for the victory.
Hinchcliffe had led the Firestone 600 for 76 days. He was leading when the race was initially red-flagged June 12 because of rain after only 71 of 248 laps, and dominated after it resumed until three late restarts.
Rahal’s fourth career win came at the high-banked, 1 1/2-mile-oval in Fort Worth where four years ago he appeared headed for victory before brushing the wall on the last lap and finishing second to Justin Wilson.
Michael McDowell won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, edging Brendan Gaughan following an overtime restart.
McDowell beat Gaughan by 0.534 seconds on an overcast, sometimes misty afternoon at the sprawling road course. The Richard Childress Racing teammates went bumper-to-bumper midway through the last lap before McDowell held on at the finish line.
A regular on NASCAR’s top Sprint Cup circuit, McDowell took his first career Xfinity checkered flag.
Brett Moffitt passed Timothy Peters and William Byron on the final lap to win the NASCAR Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Peters was two laps away from what would have been his first victory of the season, but Byron nosed ahead with a lap to go, and Moffitt was then able to move to the outside and take over the lead.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has clinched pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps ahead of 18-year-old Dutchman Max Verstappen, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid.
Cheered on by a large contingent of Dutch fans, Verstappen beat Sebastian Vettel’s leading time to move into contention, only for Rosberg to beat Verstappen’s mark and clinch his 28th career pole.
Rosberg, who now has a great chance to close the 19-point gap on Hamilton, was more than a little relieved – especially as the hot weather conditions made it more difficult for Mercedes.
“We just weren’t quick, it is hot and Pirelli (tire) pressures are high this weekend,” said Rosberg, who will be aiming for a 20th GP win.
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