Will Power has come from a lap down to win the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway in a thrilling finish.
Power just managed to beat series leading Team Penske Chevrolet team-mate Josef Newgarden in the 200-lap race, with Andretti Autosport Honda driver Alexander Rossi just behind in third.
A front wing problem had forced the Toowoomba driver to pit out of sequence and go a lap down in the opening stages.
His troubles were further compounded by rear wing damage, which he sustained in contact with Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Honda).
While Power struggled at first, Chip Ganassi Honda duo Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan were the early frontrunners.
Also in the lead battle was Newgarden, who made his way up from 14th on the grid, and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Honda) who came back into the top five from 21st after suffering a crash in qualifying that nearly ruled him out of the race.
A yellow for a big crash between James Hinchcliffe (Schmidt Peterson Honda) and JR Hildebrand (Ed Carpenter Chevrolet) midway through the race at Turn 1 gave Penske chance to pit Power to have his rear wing damage fixed and get back onto the lead lap.
At the restart Power worked his way up to ninth, which put him in clean air as the leaders made their penultimate pitstops.
Penske elected to keep Power out for a few more laps, which he used to put in the fastest lap of the race. When he emerged from the pits, that netted him a 4.5s lead heading into the final stint.
Dixon, Hunter-Reay and Kanaan gave chase, with Dixon first of the leaders to make a final pitstop with 20 laps to go.
Penske instantly reacted by bringing Power in on the next lap, allowing him to emerge as the effective leader.
Dixon meanwhile lost ground to Newgarden and Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) as they pitted a few laps later, then needed to save fuel with a handful of laps left.
That set up a close finish between Power, Newgarden, and Rossi, with the Penske team-mates going wheel-to-wheel on occasion.
Power was just able to hold on and take Penske’s 196th IndyCar win by half a second.
Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske Chevrolet) was not able to challenge the leaders for most of race, with Kanaan in fifth ahead of Dixon.
Hunter-Reay dropped back to eighth behind fellow qualifying crasher Helio Castroneves (Team Penske Chevrolet).
Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) and Carlos Muñoz (AJ Foyt Chevrolet) rounded out the top 10.
Polesitter Takuma Sato ended the race only 13th, having suffered balance issues in his Andretti Autosport Honda that caused him to drop back early on.
Newgarden’s finish ahead of Dixon and Castroneves sees him extend his series lead to 18 points with three races remaining this year.
The next of those is this weekend’s (August 25-26 local time) Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Results: Pocono 500
|Pos||Driver||Grid||C/A/E/T||Laps||Race time, gap||Laps led||Status||Pit stops|
|17||Ed Jones (R)||11||D/H/H/F||200||+25.0689||–||Running||6|
|18||Max Chilton||10||D/H/H/F||129||+71 laps||–||Mechanical||8|
|19||JR Hildebrand||19||D/C/C/F||124||+76 laps||2||Contact||4|
|20||James Hinchcliffe||12||D/H/H/F||124||+76 laps||3||Contact||4|
|21||Sebastian Saavedra||15||D/H/H/F||114||+86 laps||–||Contact||3|
|22||Esteban Gutierrez (R)||13||D/H/H/F||23||+177 laps||–||Contact||1|
(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone
|24||Juan Pablo Montoya||93|