Simon Pagenaud wins IndyCar race at Phoenix

Helio Castroneves (3) leads the field on the opening lap during the IndyCar auto race Saturday, April 29, 2017, at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) Simon Pagenaud took advantage of a caution flag that caught the other leaders on pit road to win the Verizon IndyCar race Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway.

The defending series champion grabbed the lead when Team Penske teammate Will Power pitted on the 137th lap, and the caution came out seconds later when Takuma Sato hit the wall in the fourth turn.

Pagenaud not only ended up with the lead, but had a number of lapped cars between himself and the other four lead-lap cars. Power cut Pagenaud’s 13-second lead to 3 with 40 laps to go before the Frenchman pulled away to win by over 9 seconds.

Pagenaud raced to his 10th career victory and the first on an oval, and gave Team Penske its record-extending 189th series victory. He also took the season points lead. Penske drivers led all 250 laps.

JR Hildebrand was third for Ed Carpenter Racing, and pole-sitter Helio Castroneves finished fourth for Penske. Scott Dixon, the winner last year, was a lap down in fifth.

More AP racing: http://racing.ap.org