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James Hinchcliffe wins at St. Petersburg

Canadian driver earns his first IndyCar win over Helio Castroneves, the defending race winner.

March 25, 2013|Staff and Wire reports
  • James Hinchcliffe won his first IndyCar race in St. Petersburg, Fla., he also became the first Canadian to win an IndyCar race since Paul Tracy did in 2007 at Cleveland in the CART Series.
James Hinchcliffe won his first IndyCar race in St. Petersburg, Fla., he… (Chris Trotman / Getty Images )

James Hinchcliffe, the Canadian driver poised to become IndyCar's next star, grabbed the first victory of his career Sunday.

Fittingly it came at St. Petersburg, Fla., the adopted hometown of the late Dan Wheldon, the driver who signed to drive the GoDaddy car for Andretti Autosport shortly before his death in the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas.

The open seat then went to Hinchcliffe, who drove the bright green No. 27 to victory in front of Wheldon's wife and two children.

"This is his hometown; this is his car," said Hinchcliffe, who will be added now to the Wheldon monument unveiled Thursday at Turn 10 on the course. "Knowing my face will be on that memorial, that's really special."

Hinchcliffe passed Helio Castroneves on the final restart to take the lead and held on to win by 1.09 seconds over the defending race winner. He became the first Canadian to win since Paul Tracy's 2007 victory at Cleveland in the CART Series, and Hinchcliffe waved the Canadian flag as he climbed from his car.

Three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel held off Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in a scintillating battle to win the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, with the German later apologizing for ignoring team instructions late in the race.

Vettel, who had earlier complained to the team about Webber's slow pace, battled his teammate for much of the day, with the cars almost touching as the German grabbed the lead on the 46th lap for his 27th victory, which matches the total of three-time champion Jackie Stewart. He now leads Lotus driver Kimi Raiikonen by nine points in the championship.


Sharapova makes fourth round

Mired in a marathon game midway through the opening set, Maria Sharapova wore down her opponent with characteristic resolve, then won the last point without hitting a shot.

That put Sharapova ahead to stay, and she beat fellow Russian Elena Vesnina on a muggy, 85-degree afternoon at the Sony Open, 6-4, 6-2.

The No. 3-seeded Sharapova moved into the fourth round at Key Biscayne, Fla., eager to fill one of the few holes in her resume. Although she completed a career Grand Slam last year, she has never won Key Biscayne, losing the finals in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, seeking his fourth Key Biscayne title and third in a row, defeated No. 254-ranked Somdev Devvarman, 6-2, 6-4. Djokovic next faces No. 15-seeded Tommy Haas, who beat No. 19 Alexandr Dolgopolov, 6-3, 6-2.


Michael Allen rallied to win the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic for his fourth Champions Tour title, shooting a five-under-par 67 for a one-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer.

The 54-year-old Allen started the day two shots behind the leaders but made five birdies on the front nine to vault into the lead, navigating windy conditions at Fallen Oak in Saucier.


Elvis Dumervil is putting his seven seasons in Denver and one bizarre fax fiasco behind him after agreeing to a five-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Free agents John Abraham, 34, and Dwight Freeney, 33, visited the Broncos last week and it's expected one of them will sign on soon to replace Dumervil, 29.


An official with knowledge of the agreement said George Mason is joining the Atlantic 10 Conference next season.

The official told the Associated Press on Sunday that Mason will announce that it is leaving the Colonial Athletic Assn. effective July 1.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the school and the conference plan to announce the move Monday.


Santa Margarita High defeated Aurora (Colo.) Regis Jesuit, 4-3, to win the USA Hockey Varsity national title at Coral Springs, Fla.

Max Kilkuts, who had two goals, scored in overtime to clinch the victory for the Eagles, who won the Anaheim Ducks High School League and state titles.


World champion Mikaela Shiffrin straddled a gate in the final run, handing the slalom title to Canadian Ana Goodman in the U.S. Alpine Championship at Squaw Valley, Calif.

The 18-year-old Shiffrin, from Vail, Colo., had a 1.22-second lead after the opening run but straddled the gate in the tight middle section in the second run.

Resi Stiegler of Jackson Hole, Wyo., was second, and Norway's Tonje Sekse finished third.

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