Power breaks drought with Indianapolis win

Will Power celebrates victory. Picture: Team Penske Twitter

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.

Will Power led 56 laps of the 85-lap distance. Picture: Matt Fraver

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 

Pos Num Name Diff Laps/Diff Engine Team
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
20 59 Max Chilton +18.7489 +0.5904 Chevy Carlin
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

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