Power keeps Penske perfect in IndyCar
Long Beach, CA (Sports Network) - Team Penske is 3-0 in the IZOD IndyCar Series this season after Will Power put on an impressive performance in Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Power overcame a 10-grid position penalty and then conserved enough fuel late in the race to pick up his second straight win. The Australian also won two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park, doing so from ninth starting position.
Power qualified second on Saturday, but he was one of the 11 Chevrolet drivers who received the grid penalty due to an engine change. Chevrolet replaced the engines on all of its IndyCar entries last Thursday.
Rookie Simon Pagenaud held the lead in the late-going, but when Pagenaud made his final pit stop on lap 70, that allowed Power to take over the top spot. He held it for the remaining 15 circuits around the 1.968-mile Long Beach street course for his 17th career IndyCar win. Power made his last stop with 21 laps remaining.
"We really didn't think it was possible to win from 12th place, because it was a two-stop race, but never say never," Power said. "We ran hard when we had to. At the end there, I had to save so much fuel. We've been trying to win this race for four years, and now we've done it."
Power gave Penske its first IndyCar win at Long Beach since 2001 with driver Helio Castroneves. Four years ago, Power won the last-ever Champ Car race at this course. He drove for KV Racing Technology at the time.
Castroneves picked up the victory in last month's season-opener in St. Petersburg, FL.
Pagenaud attempted to catch Power in the closing laps but finished 0.87 seconds behind.
"It was fantastic," said Pagenaud, who drives an entry for Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports. "The car was great from the beginning, and the guys did a great job. We're a one-car team operation. We don't have as much data as Penske or [Chip] Ganassi [Racing], but I'm glad we're giving them a good run for their money."
James Hinchcliffe finished third, while Tony Kanaan and J.R. Hildebrand rounded out the top-five.
Ryan Hunter-Reay received a 30-second penalty on the final lap for avoidable contact with Takuma Sato. Hunter-Reay wound up finishing sixth.
Ryan Briscoe placed sixth, followed by Sato, who was on track for a third- place run before Hunter-Reay made contact with him. Rubens Barrichello and Justin Wilson finished ninth and 10th, respectively.
With the win, Power moved atop the point standings. Power holds a 24-point lead over Castroneves, who finished one lap behind in 13th. Pagenaud moved up to third in the standings (-27).
Ganassi driver Dario Franchitti, the three-time defending series champion, started first but struggled throughout the race and wound up three laps down in 15th. His teammate, Scott Dixon, suffered engine trouble early and finished 23rd.
04/15 20:57:06 ET