Power prevails at Barber again
Leeds, AL (Sports Network) - Will Power has figured out Barber Motorsports Park well enough to win an IZOD IndyCar Series race here no matter where he starts.
One day after Power drew ire when he did not advance into the final round of qualifying at Barber, the Team Penske driver battled back from adversity to win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the second year in a row.
Power had his last-lap attempt in the second qualifying stint (Q2) erased due to a caution that came out with less than two minutes remaining. The Australian was on his way to making it into the "Fast Six" (Q3) during his final run, but after Ryan Hunter-Reay spun around and stopped on the 2.38-mile road course, Power's time was negated. He was frustrated with IndyCar's ruling.
After starting ninth, Power capitalized on tire strategy during his three pit stops in the 90-lap race. He took over the lead for the first time on lap 68 when his teammate, Helio Castroneves, who started on the pole, came in for his final stop during the second and last caution.
When the race resumed with 16 laps to go, Power pulled away from second-place runner Scott Dixon from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Dixon challenged Power for the lead in the following laps, but Power went on to beat Dixon at the finish line by 3.37 seconds.
"That was an awesome race," Power said. "[Race strategist] Tim Cindric kept putting me in such a good position, so we could use our speed. That last restart was kind of hairy. I knew Scott was going to be really quick and hounded me for a couple laps there."
Power recorded his 16th career IndyCar victory. All but one of those wins have come on road/street courses. His first and only oval victory so far came in the second of a double-header race at Texas last June.
Last year, Power put on a dominating performance at Barber by starting on the pole and leading all 90 laps.
Power also gave Penske and Chevrolet its second straight victory. Castroneves won last week's season-opener at St. Petersburg, which marked the return of Chevrolet as an engine supplier in IndyCar.
Dixon finished second at St. Petersburg as well. He led the most laps in this race with 38.
"I think we're starting to get on something with this car, so hopefully in the next few races, we might be looking at the top spot on the podium," he said. "It was a tough race, and huge congratulations to Team Penske and obviously Will, coming from so deep in the field to come back and get on top. It shows they have a strong team."
Castroneves finished third after running in front for 28 laps.
Graham Rahal took the fourth spot, while Simon Pagenaud continues to be impressive in his rookie season with a fifth-place run.
James Hinchcliffe finished sixth, followed by Mike Conway and former Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello, who made his second IndyCar start.
Sebastian Bourdais and Dario Franchitti completed the top-10. Franchitti, who captured his record-third straight and fourth overall IndyCar championship last year, is enduring a tough start to the season. He finished 13th at St. Petersburg.
"I think that is the best my car has felt through all of the practices and races and qualifying that we have had this year," Franchitti said. "I will take that as a positive, and that will give us some kind of direction going into Long Beach. I have never been so happy with a 10th place finish."
Castroneves remained atop the point standings, as he holds just a two-point advantage over Dixon. Power is now nine markers out of the lead.
Franchitti is tied with Barrichello for 10th in the standings. Both drivers are 49 points behind Castroneves.
04/01 20:42:31 ET