Power and Penske perfect
Sonoma, CA (Sports Network) - Will Power led a Team Penske 1-2-3 sweep winning Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma just ahead of teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe.
The victory was Power's fifth of the season and 14th of his IndyCar career.
"That was just the best weekend you could ever have," said Power. "It was just perfect.
Power, who won the pole, quickly moved out to a solid one-second lead over teammates Castroneves and Briscoe. The top-10 on the starting grid remained in the same order through the first 15 laps.
But by lap 20 Power and Castroneves had opened up a seven-second lead over Briscoe who was keeping points leader Dario Franchitti safely behind Team Penske.
Through the first round of pit stops and both Power and Castroneves continued to show the way.
By lap 50 Power had built a four-second lead on Castroneves and double-digits on Briscoe and Franchitti. He was simply cruising to his fifth win of the season.
But things never go that easy and when Ho-Pin Tung crashed with nine laps remaining it set up a double-file restart where anything was possible.
Unfortunately for Franchitti, Team Penske came through the lap 70 restart without a scratch and there was no passing from the top-five drivers the rest of the way.
"I was actually happy about the caution because I had a lot of lapped cars (in front of me)," said Power. I knew that Helio and Ryan would be smart on the restart. I knew it would guarantee us the win if we just got through the first corner cleanly."
The 1-2-3 sweep for Penske was the first for the team since 1994 at Nazareth.
"I had to use the push-to-pass just to keep the pressure on him," said Castroneves. "His car seemed to be a little better than us."
Owner Roger Penske was two-for-two on the weekend, winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Bristol Saturday night behind a great performance from Brad Keselowski and Sunday at Sonoma with Power.
"It's been a long time since we had this kind of run on the Indy side," said Penske. "Then last night with both guys running well and Brad picking up that win, its just an awesome time and a credit to all our people."
With the win, Power cut 21 points off Franchitti series points lead and will head to Baltimore just 26 points behind the defending series champion.
I spent all day starring at the back wing - Penske Truck Rental," said Franchitti. "The Penske guys were clearly better than we were."
The next race in the series is the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix schedule for September 4th.
08/29 10:05:39 ET