Auto Racing: F1 Verstappen wins the Spanish GP, Dixon sets a speed record getting the Indy 500 pole and Blaney wins $1M NASCAR All-Star race

MONTMELÓ, Spain (AP) — Nothing was going right for Max Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix: the wind had blown his car off course, his Red Bull was struggling, and top rival Charles Leclerc seemed headed for a sure victory.

His fortunes turned when Leclerc lost power and his Ferrari suddenly sputtered to a near stop.

Then Verstappen’s own Red Bull team intervened by ordering Sergio Pérez to get out of Verstappen’s way. The reigning Formula One champion went from from minimizing damage Sunday to winning the race and reclaiming the points lead.

“Not an easy start to the race, but we turned it around,” Verstappen said after his fourth win of the season, third consecutive.

Meanwhile, in IndyCar News:

Scott Dixon further cemented his legend as one of the greatest-ever INDYCAR SERIES drivers, earning his fifth career Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole Sunday with the fastest four-lap average speed for a pole sitter in the century-plus history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

As the last driver on track in the Firestone Fast Six, six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon delivered the drama with a four-lap average speed of 234.046 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon, from Auckland, New Zealand, earned a $100,000 for the NTT P1 Award and is just one shy of four-time Indy winner Rick Mears for the most poles in “500” history.

“That’s what this place is about; it’s so amazing,” Dixon said. “It’s crazy. This PNC Bank No. 9 crew and Honda, they brought it today. Just so happy for everybody.”

SEE THE ENTIRE 2022 INDY 500: Starting Lineup

Dixon’s run broke the all-time pole record speed of 233.718 set in 1996 by Scott Brayton. Arie Luyendyk set the all-time four-lap qualifying average speed record of 236.986 in 1996, but his run came on the second day of qualifications and wasn’t eligible for the pole.

NASCAR had a big night in Texas:

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ryan Blaney is talking about framing the window net from his No. 12 Ford, the one he somehow got secured enough to run two extra laps and win NASCAR’s All-Star race and $1 million — after he and Team Penske thought they had already won once.

“This is oddly unique,” Blaney said. “I’m never going to forget this one.”

Such an odd night that NASCAR admitted afterward that the last-second caution in a race that had to end under green probably shouldn’t have been called. Even runner-up Denny Hamlin agreed to that, but was frustrated that Blaney wasn’t black-flagged for dropping his window net when initially thinking that Sunday night’s race was over.

“Obviously Ryan Blaney thought he won the race,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior VP for competition. “That’s another byproduct of kind of special rules of the All-Star, because every other race that we do besides this one, he would have won the race when the caution flag came out.”

Miller said it was obvious to everyone that NASCAR “probably prematurely called that yellow flag.”

The checkered flag was already waving for Blaney, who was approaching the start-finish line when the caution lights suddenly came on because of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scrapping the wall at the back of the field. The No. 12 crew was already celebrating the victory in the pits and Blaney had lowered the window net on the backstretch.