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Helio Castroneves wins IndyCar season opener

He makes a daring pass of Scott Dixon in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., to get the victory.

March 25, 2012|Staff and wire reports
  • Brazil's Helio Castroneves leads the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix in Florida.
Brazil's Helio Castroneves leads the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Grand… (Nick Laham / Getty Images )

Helio Castroneves used a bold pass of Scott Dixon to win the IndyCar season opener Sunday through the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., where he celebrated with a tribute to the late Dan Wheldon.

Castroneves stopped his Penske Racing Chevrolet in Turn 10, which this year was renamed Dan Wheldon Way in honor of the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. After climbing the fence, his traditional victory celebration, he ran to the street sign and patted it, then emotionally doubled over against the wall.

Wheldon was killed in the October season finale at Las Vegas, and this season's opener was in the Englishman's adopted hometown.

Dixon finished second for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in a Honda. Ryan Hunter-Reay was third for Andretti Autosport.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso won a dramatic Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, giving the Italian team one of its more unlikely victories in its long history.

Alonso looked as if he would be overtaken by Sauber's Sergio Perez until the young Mexican driver ran off the track with six laps to go, giving the Ferrari enough of a gap to win.

Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton of McLaren finished thirdMark Webber Kimi Raikkonen.

ETC.

Couples beats Allen by a stroke

Fred Couples made an eight-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a three-under-par 69 and a one-stroke victory over Michael Allen in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Saucier.

Couples finished at 14-under 202, opening with a course-record 63, at Fallen Oak for his seventh Champions Tour title and first of the year. He will play the PGA Tour's Houston Open and the Masters the next two weeks.

Allen finished with a 66.

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Venus Williams erased a match point and rallied to outlast Aleksandra Wozniak, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open at Key Biscayne, Fla.

Williams is playing in her first tournament since withdrawing from the U.S. Open in August after learning she had a fatigue-causing autoimmune disease.

No. 4-seeded Andy Murray, the 2009 champion, advanced in a walkover when Milos Raonic withdrew because of a sprained right ankle.

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Top-seeded UCLA came from behind on the balance beam in the final rotation to win its 17th conference title and the first Pac-12 Conference gymnastics championship. The Bruins scored 197.425 to outscore second-place and host Utah, 197.375, on Saturday night.

UCLA Coach Valorie Kondos Field was voted the Pac-12 coach of the year for the fourth time in her career and first since 2003.

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Family members said former Nevada Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian's condition continues to improve after he suffered a mild heart attack.

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Bert Sugar, a legendary boxing writer and sports historian, has died. He was 75.

Jennifer Frawley, Sugar's daughter, said cardiac arrest caused his death Sunday in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

Sugar was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. According to the hall's website, Sugar wrote more than 80 books, including "The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time."

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