MARCH 14, 2018
Monday, March 12, 2018 at 10:23AM


(Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR)
Thirty-nine-year-old Sebastien Bourdais with his wife Claire after winning the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday. It was a huge win for Bourdais (his 37th in Indy car racing, sixth all-time), who many thought should retire after his devastating crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 last year. But Bourdais persevered, and after a lengthy recovery from pelvic and leg fractures, he won the Verizon IndyCar Series opener for the second straight year, this time in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Team Sealmaster Honda. Robert Wickens (No. 6 SPM Lucas Oil Honda), a sensational rookie from Canada with a bright future, started on the pole and looked set for the win, when Alexander Rossi (No. 27 Andretti Autosport NAPA Auto Parts Honda) got a great jump into Turn 1 after a caution flag when Wickens moved to defend his position. The result? The two came together and Wickens was out of the race. “This is emotional because I was able to go from a few broken bones to come back in this victory circle,” said Bourdais, who also lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. “I couldn’t be any happier for Dale Coyne Racing, Vasser-Sullivan, SealMaster and everybody on board, all the boys. They worked so hard. It’s a tiny group, but they work their tails off. We didn’t have the fastest car today, but we had consistency and we pulled it together."

(Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)
Graham Rahal and wife Courtney Force after Rahal's run into second place in his No. 18 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing United Rentals Honda.
(James Black/INDYCAR)
After Alexander Rossi (No. 27 Andretti Autosport NAPA Auto Parts Honda) came together with Robert Wickens - it was just one of them racin' deals - he finished third in the IndyCar season opener.

(Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Jimmy John's Ford) beat Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Skittles Sweet Heat Toyota) to the finish line by .774 seconds to win the Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. It was Harvick's his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season and a record ninth for Harvick at the one-mile track. It was also the 40th of Harvick's career, third-most among active drivers and tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin for eighteenth on the all-time victory list. Harvick started 10th and didn’t lead a lap until he got by Busch through Turn 4 on Lap 179. Harvick led a total of 38 laps, a distant third behind Busch’s 128 and Kyle Larson’s 54. Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) finished third.

Former open-wheel star Scott Hargrove (
No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R.) of Tsawassen, B.C., Canada, made a spectacular switch to sports cars over the weekend with a pair of GT victories in the 2018 season opening Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader in the streets of St. Petersburg. The 23-year-old Canadian came from last to win Saturday's 50-minute GT event, then on Sunday Hargrove started from the pole and held off Germany’s Daniel Keilwitz (No. 26 Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R) who was making his U.S. racing debut, to score a near perfect 51 of a possible 52 points with two wins and a pole position. Round 2 on Saturday was red-flagged on the 26th lap when 2016 PWC GT champion Alvaro Parente (No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3) of Portugal had a massive crash into the turn 10 tire wall. Parente was able to walk away from the incident, but the event was then concluded for the day after a major cleanup effort by the safety workers. Parente was checked out at the track medical center Sunday afternoon and later released.

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