Power breaks drought with Indianapolis win
Sunday 15th August, 2021 - 5:20am
Team Penske’s Will Power has become the ninth different winner in this year’s IndyCar Series season, claiming victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Power led 56 laps of the 85-lap race distance, passing pole position winner Pato O’Ward of McLaren SP shortly after the first round of pit stops.
From there, the #12 driver was largely unchallenged, surviving two late-race Safety Car interventions to bring home his first win since last year’s penultimate round.
“We needed it as a group,” said Power.
“I can’t tell you how good these guys have been this year; flawless in pit stops and they’ve given me the car, we’ve obviously just had some bad luck and I’ve made some mistakes as well.
“I’m so stoked to get the Verizon 5G car in victory lane because we haven’t done that ever, so I had been thinking about that coming into this weekend. What a relief man.
“When that yellow came and then another one, you’ve got to survive those yellows. We had a really good car. It was tough to get by lapped traffic but the car was solid out in front.
“I was very focused coming in here. I did a lot of homework coming into this race. We weren’t strong in the May race. I just put it all together man, put it all together.
“I was aggressive at the start to hold that position and held onto Pato with blacks [hard compound tyre] because I knew I could if we got reds [soft compound tyre] I could get him.
“Very good day. Super stoked.”
It was a frenetic start to the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix as O’Ward got the holeshot into Turn 1.
Buried in the field, Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) got all crossed up into the chicane and clattered into the kerb, launching the #3 into the air.
At the end of Lap 1, it was O’Ward who led Power, Romain Grosjean (Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing), Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport), Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing), Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing), Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport), and Ed Carpenter Racing duo Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay.
From 23rd, Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) was the first to pit on Lap 10.
Come Lap 12, Max Chilton (Carlin) sent his car down the inside of Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) at the flip flop.
Chilton got in too hot and ended up in the grass, taking Newgarden with him as the two-time series winner was forced to open up the steering wheel to avoid contact.
Power was the first of the front runners to come to the lane, pitting on Lap 14 with Herta and Harvey in tow.
Shod with the softer compound tyre, Power executed an efficient undercut on O’Ward and was only within a few car lengths of the effective race leader.
Heading into the Turn 12 right-hander, Power put a pass on the young Mexican to take the lead come Lap 17.
As pit stops continued and the order shook out, it was Power who led O’Ward, Herta, Grosjean, Rossi, Harvey, Palou, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud, and Lundgaard.
O’Ward couldn’t keep pace with those on the soft compound tyre, ceding position to Herta on Lap 22.
Grosjean soon got the best of O’Ward, who quickly found himself 13 seconds in arrears of the lead.
The second round of pit stops kicked off on Lap 35, led by Dixon. Power stopped on Lap 37, who held a five-second advantage over Herta.
Power extended his gap over Herta to 7.5.s with Grosjean third, O’Ward fourth, and Palou fifth. Harvey, Rossi, Pagenaud, Rahal, and Daly completed the top 10.
Approaching a 10-second lead, Power soon found his gap begin to drop as he came upon Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe.
The Canadian fought hard to stay on the lead lap, and in doing so, backed the Australian up into the clutches of Herta.
Power pitted on Lap 62 with a 4.5s advantage over Herta. Despite a mistake from Power, who left his pit bay in second gear and was slow away, the advantage was still some four seconds.
Still, Power was mired in traffic, allowing Herta, Grosjean, and the hard-charging Palou to range up on the lead.
Drama struck with 18 laps to go as smoke began billowing from the back of Palou’s car, grounding the #10 to a halt.
As the yellow flag was drawn, Power headed Herta, Grosjean, and Rossi, who was promoted to fourth courtesy of Palou’s demise. O’Ward ran fifth with Harvey, Pagenaud, Rahal, Sato, and Newgarden the top 10 runners.
Grosjean got the best restart of all from third, rounding Herta into Turn 1 with 14 laps to go for second.
There was drama with 13 laps to go at the penultimate corner as Bourdais and Hunter-Reay made contact and each ended up in the grass.
With nine laps remaining, the yellow flag flew for the second time after McLaughlin got into the back of VeeKay at Turn 7, sending the Dutch driver into a spin.
Ultimately, Power survived the final restart to take the win over Grosjean and Herta. Rossi was fourth while O’Ward couldn’t convert his pole position into a win, claiming fifth.
Harvey, Rahal, Newgarden, Ericsson, and Sato completed the top 10.
Series title contender Dixon faded from 13th to 17th late in the piece while McLaughlin’s contact with VeeKay dropped him to the tail of the lead lap. He would finish 23rd.
Palou’s DNF means his advantage has come down to just 21 points over O’Ward. Third placed Dixon now sits 34 points adrift of the lead.
The IndyCar Series heads to Gateway for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 next Sunday (AEST).
Results: Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix
|1||12||Will Power||85 Laps||Chevy||Team Penske|
|2||51||Romain Grosjean||+1.1142||+1.1142||Honda||Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing|
|3||26||Colton Herta||+2.3498||+1.2356||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|4||27||Alexander Rossi||+3.4382||+1.0884||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|5||5||Pato O’Ward||+4.1052||+0.6670||Chevy||Arrow McLaren SP|
|6||60||Jack Harvey||+5.3233||+1.2181||Honda||Meyer Shank Racing|
|7||15||Graham Rahal||+5.8553||+0.5320||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|8||2||Josef Newgarden||+6.2497||+0.3944||Chevy||Team Penske|
|9||8||Marcus Ericsson||+7.008||+0.7583||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|10||30||Takuma Sato||+7.9449||+0.9369||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|11||20||Conor Daly||+9.3596||+1.4147||Chevy||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|12||45||Christian Lundgaard||+9.8379||+0.4783||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|13||7||Felix Rosenqvist||+10.6234||+0.7855||Chevy||Arrow McLaren SP|
|14||18||Ed Jones||+12.1199||+1.4965||Honda||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan|
|15||14||Sebastien Bourdais||+12.5781||+0.4582||Chevy||AJ Foyt Enterprises|
|16||22||Simon Pagenaud||+16.4169||+3.8388||Chevy||Team Penske|
|17||9||Scott Dixon||+17.1924||+0.7755||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|18||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||+17.3273||+0.1349||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|19||48||Jimmie Johnson||+18.1585||+0.8312||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|21||6||Helio Castroneves||+19.5451||+0.7962||Honda||Meyer Shank Racing|
|22||29||James Hinchcliffe||+20.8450||+1.2999||Honda||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport|
|23||3||Scott McLaughlin||+21.0115||+0.1665||Chevy||Team Penske|
|24||21||Rinus VeeKay||+22.4946||+1.4831||Chevy||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|25||52||Cody Ware||+2 Laps||+2 Laps||Honda||Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing|
|26||4||Dalton Kellett||+4 Laps||+2 Laps||Chevy||AJ Foyt Enterprises|
|27||10||Alex Palou||Mechanical||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|28||75||RC Enerson||Mechanical||Chevy||Top Gun Racing|