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Flames, plumes of smoke from fire at Salem auto wrecking yard near I-5

A fire erupted at GR Foreign Auto Wreckers on 4825 Ridge Drive NE around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Salem Fire Department first received a report of the fire at 2:03 p.m., according to Chief Carl DeCarlo.

Roughly 22 Salem Fire officials responded to the scene.

There have been no reports of injury at this time, DeCarlo said, but one firefighter was being evaluated for heat exposure, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Laird Case.

Four engines and a ladder truck responded after GR workers reported the fire. They’d been using a torch to cut a part from a junked car when the vehicle ignited.

“They initially tried to extinguish it with an extinguisher they had present, but it got too big, too fast,” said Case. 

Photos: Fire in Salem

Residents of nearby houses were asked to leave the area while firefighters were working.

Evan Roth, who was at his brother’s property within eyesight of the junkyard, thought at first the fire was someone burning trash.

“People burn fires that are kind of questionable,” said Roth.

But after he started hearing frequent, small explosions and saw the black smoke billowing from GR, he realized it was something else.

“We were like ‘OK, that’s probably not just people screwing around,’” he said.

The fire was contained a little after 3 p.m., but Case said firefighters would be on the scene for most of the afternoon.

There are a number of downed power lines as a result of the fire.

© 2017 KGW-TV

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German government set up diesel summit with auto bosses

The German government has invited leading automakers to a meeting next month to discuss how to reduce diesel emissions.

Transport Ministry spokesman Sebastian Hille said Wednesday the CEOs of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Daimler, Ford’s German branch and Opel are invited for the Aug. 2 meeting, alongside several ministers and the governors of those German states which are auto industry centers or particularly affected by nitrogen oxide emissions.

Diesels have been under a cloud since Volkswagen admitted nearly two years ago of equipping vehicles with illegal software to pass emissions tests, but then exceeded limits in everyday driving. There have been calls for diesel bans in German cities to reduce excessive pollution levels. On Tuesday, Daimler said it will voluntarily recall 3 million Mercedes-Benz cars to improve their emissions performance.

Hille welcomed Daimler’s announcement and said it showed talks ahead of the August summit “are leading to significant movement.”

Daimler said it would tweak engine software to reduce diesel emissions, using what it has learned in developing a new line of diesel engines. It also said it would accelerate use of the newer engines across its model line.

CEO Dieter Zetsche said the move was designed to reassure customers because the public debate over diesel’s future was creating uncertainty. He said that “we are convinced that diesel engines will continue to be a fixed element of the drive-system mix, not least due to their low CO2 emissions.”

About half the cars sold in Germany are diesels and thousands of people are employed making them. Their lower emissions of carbon dioxide make them part of efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

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NAFTA exit, border tax would hurt auto industry, study warns






President Donald Trump vowed Monday to boost U.S. manufacturing by cutting the $64 billion trade deficit with Mexico as he showcased products made in all 50 states — everything from a fire truck to a baseball bat.

As the Trump administration prepares to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a new study from Boston Consulting Group warns that withdrawing from the treaty would hurt the automotive industry and fail to create new jobs in the U.S.

The study, commissioned by the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, found that car prices, vehicle sales, supply chain decisions, and industry employment could all be negatively affected by the proposals.

“A retreat from NAFTA would greatly impede the industry’s relatively smooth and cost-effective flow of goods across borders in North America and around the world,” said Xavier Mosquet, a Detroit-based senior partner at Boston Consulting.

More: Donald Trump administration outlines new NAFTA goals

According to Mosquet, leaving NAFTA would lead to the loss of about 25,000 to 50,000 jobs at U.S. auto suppliers.

Why? Because Mosquet says ending NAFTA would result in higher vehicle prices leading to a decline in car sales and an increase in prices and that would lead to decline in parts produced by auto suppliers with plants in the U.S.

The study estimated U.S. tariffs in a range from 20% to 35% would add $16 billion to $27 billion annually to costs at automakers and their suppliers. A 20% tariff would increase the production cost per vehicle by $650.

President Donald Trump, who campaigned on the slogan “America First,” has said he wants to bring back automotive jobs that have moved to Mexico. Earlier this week, the Trump administration released its negotiating priorities for talks with Mexico and Canada to negotiate a new agreement.

The Trump administration would like to complete a renegotiation of NAFTA by the end of this year, before elections take place in Mexico next year.

The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association and several other auto industry groups say they welcome efforts to update and modernize NAFTA but also say the industry would be harmed if the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the trade agreement.

NAFTA, which went into effect in 1994, has been blamed for U.S. manufacturing job losses. Labor unions, including the UAW, have welcomed the opportunity to renegotiate it.

More: Unions urge worker-friendly NAFTA re-do; industry urges ‘do no harm’

But Mosquet argues that the trade agreement also has made the U.S. auto industry more efficient, has paved the way for sales growth and lower vehicle prices. While most new plants built by automakers in the past 10 years have been in Mexico, Mosquet argues that has given automakers an option for low-cost production that helps North America — as a region — compete with Europe and Asia.

The study from Boston Consulting also warns against the idea of a border adjustment tax. Trump hasn’t specifically endorsed the border adjustment tax but earlier this year talked about imposing a 15% or even a 30% tariff on goods from Mexico. The idea is to create a powerful incentive for automakers to bring jobs back to America that have been moved to Mexico.

The Boston Consulting study concluded that a 15% border tax would result in a net tax increase of $22 billion annually for automakers and their suppliers, and a cost increase of $1,000 per vehicle.

The auto industry has forcefully lobbied against a border adjustment tax and the idea appears to have taken a back seat to other priorities in Washington. However, Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs for Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, said the idea could resurface in tax reform legislation or in the budget later this year.


Mosquet said a border adjustment tax is unlikely to lead to “re-shoring,” or a decision by automakers and suppliers to build new auto plants in the U.S.

That’s partly because the auto industry, after seven consecutive years of U.S. sales growth, has hit a plateau and automakers and suppliers are unlikely to spend millions of dollars to build new plants right now. 

“Today, we have enough capacity probably for the next 10 years,” Mosquet said. “Nobody is looking to add plants, because they know they will not need them.”

Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely.

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States with the highest and lowest auto repair costs – CBS News

Jerry Edgerton – feature

On Twitter»

Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.

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Tiffin woman setting trends in auto dealer business

The Red, White, and Blue Ribfest is making its way to Temperance, Michigan this week at the Bedford Public School grounds. 

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Auto Interiors Firm Reinventing Space Inside Autonomous Vehicles

SUNNYVALE (KPIX 5) — A world leader in automobile interiors is planning for the day when sitting inside a car will involve many activities besides driving.

Shanghai-based Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is the world’s biggest maker of car interiors. The company is starting up a 25-member innovation team in Sunnyvale, and are trying to answer the question: what will people do in their vehicle if they no longer have to drive?

The company has four different answers to that question.

“The vision we have is that we want to put you in your living room even before you arrived home,” said Yanfeng Principal Designer Leo Schurhaus.

The first option is traditional mode, where you sit just like you normally do inside a car.

With a tap of the app, it converts to family mode: the steering wheel stows itself away, the front seats angle inward at 18 degrees, and the two rear seats move in close, to better watch TV on the front display. A built-in refrigerator comes in handy.

Then there is meeting mode, where the rear seats stow away, and the front passenger seat spins around to face the rear.

That configuration included two stowaway desks.

Finally, there is lounge mode, which mimics the viewing experience inside your living room, complete with a curved, LED display embedded in the roof.

Designers want you to reclaim time that would have been spent driving yourself around, stressed out in a car.

“We are in a position, however, to inspire car companies to build interiors that support the autonomous lifestyle,” said Schurhaus. “And we wanted you to have that home feeling while you’re facing that one-and-a-half-hour commute.”

Yanfeng insists all this is not just some designer’s pipe dream, or Silicon Valley crazy talk.

Yanfeng is ramping up for the first self-driving cars to hit the market by 2020.

“Absolutely,” said Schurhaus. “We as a company, we have no doubt this technology is coming.”

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Elon Musk predicts the 3 biggest changes hitting the auto industry in 20 years

elon muskYouTube/National Governors Association

Tesla CEO Elon Musk listed the three biggest ways the auto industry will change in the next 20 years at the National Governors Association on Saturday.

Speaking with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, Musk said electric and autonomous vehicle production will “grow exponentially”:

  • “Probably in 10 years, more than a half of new vehicle production is electric in the United States.”
  • “I think almost all cars produced will be autonomous in 10 years.”
  • In 20 years, “there will not be a steering wheel… It will be like having a horse.”

It’s no surprise that Musk is especially bullish on electric and autonomous vehicles.

Tesla will begin delivering the Model 3 — its first mass-market, electric car — at the end of July. Musk has also said an autonomous Tesla will drive itself from Los Angeles to New York before the end of the year as the automaker ramps up its Autopilot efforts.

Musk was clear, however, that he was speaking strictly about vehicle production. 

“The thing to bear in mind though is new vehicle production is only 5% of the size of the vehicle fleet,” Musk said.

It will take 25 years before the majority of vehicles on the road are electric or autonomous, he said.

Ford, General Motors, and Waymo, Google’s self-driving sister company, are all planning to release self-driving cars to the public in the next four years.

GM, Ford, and Volkswagen are also planning to rival Tesla with their own electric vehicles in the next four years.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in its 2017 outlook for electric vehicles that plug-in electric and hybrid cars will account for one-third of the global auto fleet by 2040 as battery prices drop. In just eight years, owning an electric car will be as cheap as owning a car with a traditional combustion engine.

You can watch Musk’s full interview here:

Get the latest Tesla stock price here.

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Auto loan lateness rises along with prices

The prices of new and used cars keep rising every year, which means consumers are borrowing more to make the purchases — and the monthly payments for cars and car-related expenses are squeezing many households budgets to the maximum.

New cars now cost an average $35,000, compared with an average $31,000 in 2013, according to, an automobile industry information service based in Santa Monica, Calif.

The payments on a new car with a $31,000 outstanding loan are about $516 a month, even before insurance, gasoline, and maintenance are factored in.

Meanwhile, used cars also have become pretty expensive in recent years. The average loan on a used car bought at a dealership is running about $21,000 and carries an average $380-a-month payment.

“It’s no longer that easy to pick up a used car for $5,000 to $10,000 that’s in good condition. Those deals are getting harder to find,” said Ivan Drury, a senior analyst at “People will probably have to go to a dealer to buy a used car, and they will pay more.”

Some are having trouble keeping up with the payments.

The Washington-based American Bankers Association reported this month that delinquencies for fixed loans with fixed payment periods rose in the first quarter, driven by an increase in late payments on auto loans.

Delinquencies in indirect auto loans — those arranged through third parties, such as auto dealers — rose to 1.83 percent, although they remain well below the 15-year average of 2.20 percent. Delinquencies in direct auto loans — those arranged directly through a bank — rose to 1.03 percent, also under the 15-year average of 1.57 percent.

“The gloss is fading a bit on auto lending as delinquencies rise,” said James Chessen, chief economist at the American Bankers Association. “Institutions will be more careful as they think about how aggressive they will be in lending, knowing there are early signs that some people are having difficulty paying back their loans.”

For a time during the 2007-09 recession, it was difficult to qualify for a new or used car loan.

But as credit began to loosen up around 2013, banks and other lending institutions began vigorously pushing auto loans, even subprime loans to meet pent up car-buying demand.

Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Bank of Pittsburgh, said that while auto loan delinquency rates throughout the broad financial system have jumped, they remain low on a historical level and do not threaten the economy.

“We have seen auto sales slow in 2017, and some of that is because lenders are pulling back,” Mr. Faucher said, adding that 17.5 million new cars were sold in 2016. This year’s new car sales are running at an annual rate of 17 million.

While cars top the list of late payments, consumers also have overextended themselves on other loans, according to the American Bankers Association.

Delinquencies in bank credit cards rose to 2.74 percent but remain below their 15-year average of 3.65 percent. Home equity lines of credit delinquencies rose to 1.11 percent but also remain below their 15-year average of 1.18 percent. Home equity loan delinquencies, on the other hand, decreased to 2.59 percent, holding under their 15-year average of 2.95 percent.

The American Bankers Association defines a delinquency as a late payment that is 30 days or more overdue.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Tim Grant is a reporter for the Post-Gazette.

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New U.S. Subprime Boom, Same Old Sins: Auto Defaults Are …

It’s classic subprime: hasty loans, rapid defaults, and, at times, outright fraud.

Only this isn’t the U.S. housing market circa 2007. It’s the U.S. auto industry circa 2017.

A decade after the mortgage debacle, the financial industry has embraced another type of subprime debt: auto loans. And, like last time, the risks are spreading as they’re bundled into securities for investors worldwide.

Subprime car loans have been around for ages, and no one is suggesting they’ll unleash the next crisis. But since the Great Recession, business has exploded. In 2009, $2.5 billion of new subprime auto bonds were sold. In 2016, $26 billion were, topping average pre-crisis levels, according to Wells Fargo Co.

Few things capture this phenomenon like the partnership between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Banco Santander SA. Since 2013, as U.S. car sales soared, the two have built one of the industry’s most powerful subprime machines.

Details of that relationship, pieced together from court documents, regulatory filings and interviews with industry insiders, lay bare some of the excesses of today’s subprime auto boom. Wall Street has rewarded lax lending standards that let people get loans without anyone verifying incomes or job histories. For instance, Santander recently vetted incomes on fewer than one out of every 10 loans packaged into $1 billion of bonds, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The largest portion were for Chrysler vehicles.

Some of their dealers, meantime, gamed the loan application process so low-income borrowers could drive off in new cars, state prosecutors said in court documents.

Through it all, Wall Street’s appetite for high-yield investments has kept the loans — and the bonds — coming. Santander says it has cut ties with hundreds of dealerships that were pushing unsound loans, some of which defaulted as soon as the first payment. At the same time, Santander plans to increase control over its U.S. subprime auto unit, Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc., people familiar with the matter said.

Lending Practices

Santander, subpoenaed or questioned by a group of about 30 states regarding its auto loan underwriting and securitization activities, declined to comment on “active legal matters.” In May, Santander agreed to pay $26 million to settle allegations brought by Delaware and Massachusetts as part of ongoing investigations into the auto industry’s lending practices. Santander, whose partnership with Chrysler goes by the Chrysler Capital brand name, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s U.S. sales chief, said Santander has been a “good partner.”

In recent years, lending practices in the subprime auto industry have come under increased scrutiny. Regulators and consumer advocates say it takes advantage of people with nowhere else to turn.

For investors, the allure of subprime car loans is clear: securities composed of such debt can offer yields as high as 5 percent. It might not seem like much, but in a world of ultra-low rates, that’s still more than triple the comparable yield for Treasuries. Of course, the market is still much smaller than the subprime-mortgage market which triggered the credit crisis, making a repeat unlikely. But the question now is whether that premium, which has dwindled as demand soared, is worth it.

“Investors seem to be ignoring the underlying risks,” said Peter Kaplan, a fund manager at Merganser Capital Management.

Worth It?

Asset-backed securities based on auto loans are engineered to keep paying even when some loans sour. Still, some cracks have emerged in the $1.2 trillion market for auto financing. Delinquencies have picked up, as have losses on subprime loans. Auto loan fraud, meantime, is approaching levels seen in mortgages during the bubble.

Auto finance “is not going to bring down the financial system like the mortgage crisis almost did, but it does signal more stress with the consumer,” said Stephen Caprio, a credit strategist at UBS Group AG.

Whatever the case, the Santander-Chrysler relationship has opened a rare window into an industrywide race to the bottom that may have lasting consequences.

In the years after its 2009 bankruptcy, Chrysler looked for a dedicated lender to help customers finance their cars quickly. One reason it picked Santander was the Spanish lender’s expertise in “automated decisioning.” At the time, a Chrysler executive said the process helped Santander “take a little bit more risk and approve more deals because they mine the data” in subprime.

Becoming Chrysler’s preferred lender made sense for Santander. It was aggressively expanding in the U.S. subprime loan market, and Chrysler, the perennial third wheel among the “Big Three,” relied more on buyers with lower credit scores than General Motors Co. or Ford Motor Co.

Problems surfaced almost from the start. Many of them, detailed in the settlement between Santander and authorities in Delaware and Massachusetts, recall some of the excesses of the subprime housing era.

‘Fraud Dealers’

Attorneys general in both states alleged Santander enabled a group of “fraud dealers” to put buyers into cars they couldn’t afford, with loans it knew they couldn’t repay. It offloaded most of the debt, which often had rates over 15 percent, reselling them to yield-hungry ABS investors.

State authorities also said an internal Santander review in 2013 found that 10 out of 11 loan applications from a Massachusetts dealer contained inflated or unverifiable incomes. (It’s not clear whether this particular case involved a Chrysler dealer.)

Santander kept originating the dealer’s loans anyway, even as they continued to default “at a high rate,” the authorities said.

Some dealerships even asked Santander to double-check customers’ incomes because they didn’t trust their own employees, the authorities said. They also said the lender didn’t always oblige because that would put it at a “competitive disadvantage.” At the time of the settlement, Santander said it was “totally committed to treating its customers fairly.”

In some ways, the laissez-faire mindset reflects how competition squeezed Santander as demand for new cars — and loans to finance them — soared.

Tough Time

Without a deposit base, Santander’s auto finance unit had a tough time competing with banks for the most creditworthy buyers. Private-equity firms also poured in, vying for many of the same subprime borrowers Santander targets, but often with more relaxed underwriting. And Santander doesn’t get the same preferences that automakers’ wholly owned finance units typically receive, Bigland said.

The irony is that what got Santander into hot water did little to help it reach the lofty goals set at the outset of the 10-year venture with Chrysler. As of April, Santander financed about 19 percent of the carmaker’s sales, short of the 64 percent they targeted by that time.

While Santander takes pains to avoid criticizing Chrysler, the lender launched a special loyalty and rewards program to vet the carmaker’s dealerships. Those that aren’t deemed fraudulent during the process are labeled “VIPs.” Santander also cut ties with over 800 dealers across its network since 2015 as it tries to boost business without exposing itself to more bad loans.

“Chrysler continues to represent an opportunity for growth for us,” Richard Morrin, chief operating officer of Santander’s auto finance arm, said during an investor presentation in February. Still, “it can’t be growth at any cost.”

Chrysler declined to comment on instances of fraud at its dealer network.

Varying Norms

Indeed, with U.S. auto sales falling after a record 2016, many lenders including Santander say they’re tightening standards. Santander’s underwriting practices, however, continue to raise eyebrows. In May, Moody’s drew attention to the fact that Santander verified incomes on only 8 percent of loans it bundled into bonds, based on data that auto-debt issuers have recently started to disclose.

Yet when it comes to due diligence, there’s no industrywide standard. Unlike the mortgage market, stated-income loans — also known as “liar loans” — are perfectly legal in car buying. Last month, Jeff Brown, Ally Financial Inc.’s chief executive, said verifying income isn’t the norm. Ally, he said, checked incomes on 65 percent of its subprime car loans. GM Financial’s AmeriCredit unit checked roughly the same percentage.

The industry has little reason to change given the success of Wall Street’s securitization machine. Protections built into the bonds have largely insulated investors from losses even as delinquencies pile up. Most securities are upgraded over their lifetimes.

The losers, of course, are people who go into debt for cars they can’t afford.

Jerry Robinson, who worked in Santander’s debt collection unit, has seen the trouble firsthand. Robinson, who retired in August after six years with Santander, says one of his responsibilities was to get cars the lender repossessed back into their owners’ hands.

Business Decision

Often times, he found dealers listed non-existent features like sunroofs or alloy wheels to inflate a car’s value and win credit approval. Although Robinson’s job was to make sure dealers reimbursed Santander for any loan fraud, borrowers didn’t see their debts reduced, he said. Instead, their loans were usually extended, increasing the compound interest consumers would ultimately pay after their repoed cars were reinstated. More often than not, those payments wind up going to ABS investors.

Bonuses were tied to how many borrowers could be reinstated, said Robinson, now a Dallas-based member of the Committee for Better Banks, a worker and consumer advocacy coalition backed by a union seeking to organize bank employees. The same cars were often repoed multiple times.

Santander spokeswoman Laurie Kight disputed Robinson’s account and said it was part of a union campaign to discredit the lender. Santander is “unaware” of the type of conduct he described and money reimbursed by dealers for non-existent features is used to reduce borrowers’ loan balances, she said.

Robinson contends it was more profitable for Santander to keep cash-strapped borrowers in their cars rather than auction off the vehicles.

“The business makes money putting people in the car,” he said.

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Auto racing: Denny Hamlin, Josef Newgarden, Lewis Hamilton win featured races – The Spokesman

Denny Hamlin held off Kyle Larson over the final laps Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and sent Joe Gibbs Racing to victory lane for the first time this season.

One of the top organizations in NASCAR, JGR had yet to have any of its four drivers win until Hamlin took the lead with 33 laps left and held off the hard-charging Larson on the final lap in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Hamlin needed his 30th career Cup victory to secure a berth in NASCAR’s version of the postseason and end a winless streak that stretched to last September at Richmond.

“Definitely needed a win for the organization, for myself,” Hamlin said.

Larson had a sensational run from the rear of the field, where he was forced to start because he failed inspection after he won the pole. Larson lost his points lead last week and his crew chief was suspended after failing a post-race inspection at Kentucky.

Hamlin crashed the No. 11 Toyota in practice and was forced to race in a backup car. It seemed to suit him just fine at New Hampshire.

Martin Truex Jr., was third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.

JGR won seven of the first 12 races last season and Carl Edwards was 10 laps away from a possible championship when he crashed out in the finale. Daniel Suarez replaced Edwards this season and Hamlin, Kenseth and Kyle Busch have made strong runs at the checkered flag, they just couldn’t find the winning formula until New Hampshire.

“It’s not from a lack of trying,” Hamlin said.

JGR also announced this week that Erik Jones would replace two-time Daytona 500 champion Kenseth in the No. 20 next season. With Hamlin sending the crowd into a frenzy by burning the tires down, Sunday was simply a reason for the team to celebrate.

Larson was second and nearly caught Hamlin – after a trying week where NASCAR caught Larson’s Chip Ganassi team trying to tinker a bit too much outside the rule book on the No. 42 Chevrolet.

Larson’s team was penalized 35 points this week, erasing what had been a one-point advantage over Truex in the driver standings. Truex, who led 137 laps, leads the standings by 38 points over Larson.

Larson’s pole-winning time was disallowed because of an unapproved rear deck fin lid.

“NASCAR’s kept a closer eye on our team, in particular,” Larson said. “Had to go to the back. I don’t think that really affected us which I think is a good thing. The little stuff we got in trouble for so far hasn’t affected our performance. We’ve got to keep working hard on the areas on our race car that are legal and find more speed that way.”


Josef Newgarden raced to his second Toronto IndyCar title in three years Sunday, dominating on the streets surrounding Toronto’s Exhibition Place.

Newgarden came out in front on Lap 25 after a crash by Tony Kanaan caused a caution and maintained an advantage of over two seconds for the majority of the rest of the race. The American has five career victories, also winning in Alabama in April.

Newgarden gave Team Penske its 193rd victory, the most of any team.

Alexander Rossi was second, and James Hinchcliffe finished third in his hometown race for the second straight year.

Kanaan had his brakes lock up while leaving the pits and connected with the protective tires in Turn 1. The caution caused the top-three cars of Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal to fall back.

Thundershowers were a threat throughout the race but held off. It started out sunny and humid, then clouded over during the event and it rained lightly at a few points.

Esteban Gutierrez, the rookie who crashed late in qualifying Saturday, was cleared to race after experiencing concussion-like symptoms.

Formula One

Lewis Hamilton slashed Sebastian Vettel’s Formula One championship lead to one point by winning a record-equaling fifth British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, as his title rival was left reeling by a late puncture.

Vettel was in third heading into the penultimate lap at Silverstone only to see his front left tire shred – immediately after Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s car experienced the same fate.

Raikkonen still made the podium by replacing Vettel in third, but the championship leader fell back to seventh as the 25-point lead he held over Hamilton going into the 10th round of the 20-race season was all but wiped out on an overcast afternoon in central England.

It capped a dominant weekend for Hamilton in front of his home fans and the three-time world champion was assisted by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas making up seven places to join him on the podium after finishing second.

“Great drive by Valtteri,” Hamilton said over the team radio after claiming victory. “Fantastic job, all weekend.”

For Hamilton, the victory after failing to make the podium in his last two races will vindicate the decision to embark on a two-day holiday to Greece after last weekend’s Austrian GP. The jaunt annoyed racing fans in London who turned up to a flagship showcase of the sport that was attended by the other 19 drivers.

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