Will Power kicked off the Month of May perfectly with a dominating win in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
The Aussie had the perfect combination of a quick car as well as making the fuel mileage last to the end and led 65 of the race’s 82 laps.
The race was slowed on on the first lap for the second straight year as second place starter Scott Dixon was spun by Helio Castroneves in turn one while Josef Newgarden and Jack Hawksworth spun further back in the field.
After a quick yellow, Power pulled out to a comfortable lead over teammate Simon Pagenaud over the course of the first stint. Behind the leaders, Graham Rahal passed a whopping 11 cars during the first lap melee and was marching towards the front.
Power led Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais down pit road on lap 23 which handed the lead over to Rahal. The American managed to squeeze an extra lap of fuel out of his Honda powered #15 car and moved into second place following his first pit stop.
For the second week in row, Rahal rose from the ashes and kept Power in his cross hairs for much of the second stint and closed the gap down to less than two seconds before his progress was impeded by the lapped car of Francesco Dracone which cost him nearly 2 seconds and gave Power a cushion as pitstops approached. The Verizon Team Penske crew once again gave Power a perfect pitstop which kept him in front of Rahal.
Rahal once again made better fuel mileage then his rival, but the gap Power built up proved to be too much to overcome as he was held up again by the lapped car of Josef Newgarden over the course of the second to last stint, but his hopes became a little brighter when the Team Penske crew informed Power that he would have to stretch his fuel to 24 laps to make the final stint.
Power’s lead ebbed and flowed over the course of the final stint as the two navigated lapped traffic and Power hit his marks perfectly to make the fuel mileage to make it to the end.
In the end, Rahal never managed to get close to mount a charge and Power crossed the line with 1.50s in the bag to take his first win of the season.
“That was hard when (Tim Cindric) told me the number I had to hit, and then that Rahal was closing,” said Power. “It was really hard. I was trying to save in the spots where we wouldn’t lose time and push like hell in the other areas. That’s the most physical race I think I’ve ever done. It never stopped. I was so determined to win that I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I didn’t want to get caught out by a yellow and wanted a clean race, and that’s exactly what we got.”
Rahal claimed back to back podium finishes for the first time in his IndyCar career and continues his strong start to the season.
Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya held off Sebastien Bourdais for the final step on the podium while Charlie Kimball claimed his first top 5 finish of the year.
Helio Castroneves spent most of his 300th race in the back of the pack after the first lap accident but with an off sequence strategy managed to snag a seventh place finish.
Tony Kanaan and rookie Stefano Coletti had a fierce duel for 7th place for much of the day with the Monaco native holding the upper hand until he overshot turn 1 late in the race. He still managed to hang on for an eighth place finish, his best of the season.
Takuma Sato ended the day in ninth place and Scott Dixon climbed back from his first lap spin to round out the top 10.
IndyCar returnees JR Hildebrand and Justin Wilson’s finished did not reflect how well they ran as Hildebrand ran inside the top 6 for much of the day until his left front wheel broke with just a few laps to go and relegated him to a 21st place finish. Wilson’s day was ended by a gearbox failure late and finished 24th.
Montoya is now in the clutches of teammate Power in the championship chase as the win moves Power within 5 points out of the lead. Castroneves lies five points behind him while Graham Rahal moves into a tie for fifth with Dixon, 27 points out of the lead.
1. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 82, Running
2. (17) Graham Rahal, Honda, 82, Running
3. (4) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 82, Running
4. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 82, Running
5. (14) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 82, Running
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 82, Running
7. (6) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 82, Running
8. (10) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 82, Running
9. (22) Takuma Sato, Honda, 82, Running
10. (2) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 82, Running
11. (19) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 82, Running
12. (13) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 82, Running
13. (21) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 82, Running
14. (9) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 82, Running
15. (16) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 82, Running
16. (24) Marco Andretti, Honda, 82, Running
17. (8) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 82, Running
18. (20) James Jakes, Honda, 81, Running
19. (23) Carlos Huertas, Honda, 81, Running
20. (12) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 81, Running
21. (15) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 81, Running
22. (25) Francesco Dracone, Honda, 80, Running
23. (11) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 69, Running
24. (18) Justin Wilson, Honda, 68, Mechanical
25. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 57, Mechanical