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article imageRacing Recap: Familiar names win at motorsports weekend events

By John Duarte     Mar 26, 2012 in Sports
They had 91 victories between them going in to this weekend’s races. When the checkered flags waved, Fernando Alonso, Helio Castroneves and Tony Stewart all added another trophy to their respective showcases.
Formula 1
Rain may have stalled the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix on the weekend, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of Ferrari’s Alonso, who became the second winner of the 2012 Formula 1 season. The Spanish driver said he was surprised with the 28th win of his career.
“Yeah definitely, a big surprise today with the win,” he said at the post-race media conference. “We were not competitive in Australia, we were not competitive here and our goal for this first race is to score as many points as possible.”
Weather played a huge part in the race when it started to rain 10 minutes prior to green flag when the cars were already on the grid and then again later, when the deluge forced drivers to park their cars approximately 65 laps into the race.
Joining Alonso on the victory podium were Sauber’s Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. The next race of the F1 world driving championship is the UBS Chinese Grand Prix, in Shanghai on April 15.
Nineteen previous career wins, three of them at the Indianapolis 500, didn’t take the luster off Castroneves’ celebration at the end of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the opening race of the 2012 season for the IZOD IndyCar Series. The happy-go-lucky Brazilian climbed the fence to thank the fans, as he has done so many times before, but this one had special meaning.
“It’s been a while, but it never gets old,” said the Team Penske driver, whose last win came in Japan in September 2010.
The win was an emotional one for Castroneves as he, along with the whole IZOD IndyCar Series family, saluted Dan Wheldon, the defending Indy 500 champion who died in a racing mishap last in year in Las Vegas.
“You can never question God’s mysteries, and today, for me, I ended up stopping at Turn 10,” said an emotional Castroneves, standing next to the sign honouring Wheldon. “Honestly, I did not plan it. It was just the way it happened, and there was the sign Dan Wheldon Way. For me, and for all of us -- the drivers and the fans -- not having him here certainly we’ll miss (him).”
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Ray, of Andretti Motorsport, finished second and third respectively behind Castroneves. The IndyCar series now heads for Birmingham and the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 1.
Rain was also a factor Auto Club Speedway, in California, where Stewart won his second race of five NASCAR Sprint Cup events this season. Officials called the race after 129 laps of the Auto Club 400, with the defending Sprint Cup champion at the head of the pack.
"I don't know, but I like it," said Stewart, who has never won two races so early in the season during his NASCAR career. He also thanked his crew and crew chief for giving him a winning car. "I'm really proud of Steve Addington and all of our guys. This Office Depot Chevy was bad fast."
For the 46th win of his career, Stewart raced to the finish line ahead of Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The next Sprint Cup race is the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, at Martinsville, Virginia, on April 1.
More about Auto racing, Formula one, IndyCar, Nascar, Fernando alonso
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