Sports

Jeff Gordon earns his first victory of the year

SportsAuto RacingStock Car RacingOpen-Wheel RacingJeff GordonKevin HarvickOriol Servia
Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon wins for the first time this season
Danica Patrick comes in seventh for her best career Sprint Cup finish
The first Sprint Cup night race at Kansas was left in the dark after the lights went out on the backstretch

Jeff Gordon grabbed the lead in the final laps at Kansas Speedway and held on for his first victory of the season and 89th overall.

The 42-year-old Gordon held off a hard-charging Kevin Harvick on the final lap to move into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.

Gordon won for the first time since October at Martinsville, Va., and became the ninth driver to win this season. He entered the race with the points lead and won for the third time at Kansas.

Kasey Kahne was third, followed by Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Danica Patrick was seventh for her best career Cup finish.

Gordon built his points lead on the strength of four top-fives and seven top-10s in the first 10 races — including second-place finishes at Texas and Richmond — but he knew how much one win would ease pressure of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team.

"This is so sweet," he said. "What a huge weight lifted off this team's shoulders. We needed to get to Victory Lane."

After the start of the race was delayed 35 minutes by rain, the first Sprint Cup night race at Kansas soon left drivers in the dark after the lights went out on the backstretch. NASCAR polled drivers if they wanted to continue and they were good to go, with Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards among the many who said the track was bright enough to race.

Pagenaud wins Indianapolis GP

Simon Pagenaud won the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis by stretching his fuel to the finish on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Frenchman was one of several drivers to gamble on fuel strategy, and he made it stick for the final 29 laps to earn his third career IndyCar victory. He took the lead when Oriol Servia had to stop with four laps remaining, and Pagenaud managed to make it to the finish despite having to keep one eye on his mirrors.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was second and Helio Castroneves third on his 39th birthday.

The race began with a violent wreck when pole-sitter Sebastian Saavedra stalled on the standing start. He was hit by multiple cars, and debris struck Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard as he waved the green flag.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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SportsAuto RacingStock Car RacingOpen-Wheel RacingJeff GordonKevin HarvickOriol Servia
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