Penalty doesn't keep Power from IndyCar victory

Third-place James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont. (left), winner Will Power of Australia, and...

Third-place James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont. (left), winner Will Power of Australia, and runner-up Simon Pagenaud of France are driven around the temporary street course in Long Beach, Calif., after the IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race yesterday. (Robert Laberge/Getty Images/AFP)

Dean McNulty, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

The win by Will Power -- his second in a row this season and the 17th of his IZOD IndyCar career -- at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was remarkable in at least two ways.

First, Power was in a Chevrolet-powered Dallara DW12, one of 11 bow tie team cars that were penalized 10 spots of the grid after changing engines earlier this week.

Secondly, Power had filled his tank with fuel with 31 laps to go on the temporary street course and only those on his No. 12 Penske Racing team believed he could finish without another splash of ethanol.

But at the end he was able to keep Simon Pagenaud and the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton Racing team behind him without making a pit stop.

What it all proved, however, that even with penalties the Chevrolet teams are the class of the IndyCar this season -- their first back in open-wheel racing in more than a decade.

Four of the top five at the finish were in Chevys, with eight of the top 10 also badged by the General Motors brand.

It was incredible, really, looking at, for example, Canada's James Hinchcliffe, who was third in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet after starting in 16th place.

Tony Kanaan moved all the way from 19th to fourth in the KV Racing Technology Chevy. JR Hildebrand got his best IndyCar finish of fifth after starting 20th in another Chevrolet.

TRACY SWITCHES GEARS

Former open-wheel racing champion Paul Tracy has confirmed he will be switching to sports-car racing this season after failing to finds a ride in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Tracy will join the Doran Racing GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype team for at least a couple of events this season, including a race at New Jersey Motorsports Park May 11 and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 27-29.

"I'm going to run the endurance race there, and we've got on the schedule New Jersey right now," he told SPEED.com on Sunday. "We've got four more races we're doing, but nothing in open-wheel. Bottom line is that I hope my fans come out and enjoy the next phase of my career because that's what I have going at the moment."

MERCEDES MADNESS

It is hard to believe that German automaker Mercedes had not won a Formula One race as a factory team for 57 years before Nico Rosberg did it on Sunday in the Chinese Grand Prix on the Shanghai circuit.

In fact, last time Mercedes climbed to the top step of an F-1 podium was the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1955 with Juan Manuel Fangio behind the wheel.

There have been plenty of customer wins and world championships for Mercedes engines of course, with the likes of McLaren and Williams.

But it was Rosberg, the 26-year old native of Wiesbaden, who reclaimed the glory for the factory squad in his own first win in the world championship.

"This is a very special moment for me," he said. "I will never forget this race, and the last 20 laps felt as long as if I was racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours."

Mercedes race boss Ross Braun put the win in perspective.

"I was just one year old when Juan Manuel Fangio won in Monza in 1955 -- but this victory is something I will remember, and savour, for a very long time indeed."

FINISH LINES

In the American Le Mans Series race at Long Beach Saturday, Kyle Marcelli of Barrie, Ont., was 16th overall and fourth in the Protoype Challenge class driving the No. 14 Merchant Services Racing LMPC. Michael Valiante of Vancouver, driving the No. 31 Porsche 911, was seventh in the GT3 class and 25th overall. Toronto's Tony Burgess finished 32nd overall and last in the PC class after a crash on Lap 35 ... NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart had a rare off-night at Texas finishing 24th, two laps down to race-winner Greg Biffle. Prior to Saturday, Stewart had won two of the first six Cup races ... Kimi Raikkonen looked as if he might have had a shot at a podium finish in Shanghai, but he wore out his tires trying to pass Felipe Massa in the final stint, dropping him from second to out of the points in 14th.


NUTS AND BOLTS

IZOD IndyCar Series

Will Power fought off a 10-spot penalty to start the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday to win his second IZOD IndyCar Series race of the 2012 season.

Canada's James Hinchcliffe was awarded third for Andretti Autosport after teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay was docked 10 second for avoidable contact.

Formula 1

Nico Rosberg finally came of age Sunday, recording his first Formula One victory at the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.

"I didn't expect to be that fast today," Rosberg said. "We really struggled in the first two races with race pace."

Jenson Button was second and Lewis Hamilton third in Mercedes-powered McLarens.

NASCAR Sprint Cup

Greg Biffle put an exclamation point on his status as points leader, taking his first win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday in the Samsung Mobile 500.

It had been 49 races since Biffle last visited Victory Lane.

He passed Jimmie Johnson with 30 laps left in the 334-lap race and never looked back.

Mark Martin was third, followed by Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth.


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