Conway Wins Wild IndyCar Race at Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif. — Tempers flared in almost every corner of the IndyCar paddock Sunday at Long Beach, where Mike Conway was the surprise winner of a surprisingly physical race.
Ryan Hunter-Reay dominated most of the race, but triggered a seven-car accident 24 laps from the finish when he tried to make an aggressive pass of Josef Newgarden. It left team owner Michael Andretti shaking his head in disgust because the accident wiped out both Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe, and Sarah Fisher fumed on Twitter over Newgarden’s day being ruined.
The accident opened the door for Scott Dixon to win the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the first time. But he was short on fuel by roughly half a lap and stopped for gas with two laps to go. That gave Conway the lead, and the British driver cruised to his second career win on the temporary street course through the streets of Long Beach.
Conway, who also won at Long Beach in 2011, scored the win for Ed Carpenter Racing, a team that specializes in oval races. But Carpenter decided this year to get out of the car on road and street courses, and handed the wheel over to Conway, a driver who at the end of 2012 decided he no longer wanted to race on ovals.
Dixon said he pitted when he did to avoid potentially running out of gas on the track.
“The last thing I wanted to do was run out of gas in front of the whole field and cause a big accident,” Dixon said.
One big accident had already occurred — when Hunter-Reay picked the wrong time to try to pass Newgarden.
Newgarden had raced off of pit road in a successful bid to get back onto the track in front of Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe, the two Andretti drivers who had started on the front row.
But on cold tires, he wasn’t going to be able to hold off Hunter-Reay for long. Only Hunter-Reay decided not to wait and tried to pass Newgarden as they entered a tight Turn 4. The two cars collided, Newgarden was sent into the wall and Hunter-Reay bounced into Helio Castroneves’ path.
Hinchcliffe ran into the back of Newgarden — Will Power and Conway successfully squeezed through the wreckage — but three more cars were collected as Takuma Sato, Tony Kanaan and Jack Hawksworth all ran into the crashed cars long after the accident began.
Newgarden was polite when he returned to his pit stand.
Liverpool in Control
Liverpool, England — Liverpool took command of the captivating Premier League title race by beating Manchester City 3-2 in a match of wide-ranging emotions at Anfield, although the destiny of the trophy is also in Chelsea’s hands after its win at Swansea on Sunday.
Liverpool is two points ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League.
Liverpool is seven points ahead of third-place City, which has two games in hand. Second-place Chelsea, like Liverpool, has the title in its own hands but needs to beat Liverpool at Anfield on April 27 and win its other four games.
Before the game, Liverpool fans held up a mosaic spelling out “96 25 years” during a minute’s silence to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. In 1989, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death during an FA Cup semifinal.
Verdasco Wins in Houston
Houston — Fernando Verdasco won the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship on Sunday for his sixth ATP World Tour title and first since 2010, beating Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 7-6 (4).
The 30-year-old Verdasco ended a six-match losing streak in tournament finals.