Will Power won the IndyCar Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the second straight year and third time overall – each victory coming from the pole position. Power’s triumph by 2.2443 seconds over Scott Dixon also marked Indy car win No. 200 for Team Penske, nearly double that of any other team.
“It’s amazing,” said Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. “It just shows what sort of team that Penske is, and it’s a real honor to drive for Roger. We’re given the equipment week in and week out to win, so I can’t thank him enough for the opportunity he’s given me.”
Power led 56 of 85 laps on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile permanent road course to collect his 33rd career victory (ninth all time). Thirty of those triumphs have come since joining Team Penske in 2009, tying the 37-year-old Australian with Helio Castroneves for the most with the team.
Power chased down race leader Robert Wickens, who started second in the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, and made a daring outside pass heading into Turn 1 on Lap 51 to take first place. Seven laps later, Power’s crew barely got him out of the pits in front when nearly the entire field made final stops for fuel and tires under the second and last full-course caution of the race.
From there, Power kept Wickens and then Dixon in his mirrors to the finish – all the while stretching his tank of Sunoco E85 ethanol to the checkered flag. Dixon, bidding to pick up a 42nd career victory that would tie him for third all-time with Michael Andretti, was satisfied to finish runner-up for the 39th time in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda – particularly after a disappointing qualifying effort on Friday locked him into the 18th starting position.
“It was a great result today for the PNC Bank car and the whole team,” the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion said. “Everyone on the Ganassi team never quits, never gives up and we were able to make up a lot of spots and finish second.
“I think that was the worst I’ve ever qualified without crashing or having a technical issue. Good day in the points for the No. 9 team. I love having this race open up the month for us here at Indy.”
Wickens continued to impress in his rookie season, collecting a second podium and third top-four finish in five races. The 29-year-old Canadian admitted that trying to race hard while conserving fuel in the final stint was a learning experience.
“It was the first time in my career I’ve had to save fuel like that, but in the end, happy with the podium,” Wickens said. “Would have liked to be a bit further up, but hard to complain.”
Sebastien Bourdais finished fourth in the No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda, using his push-to-pass overtake boost on the final lap to zip past Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) for the position. Helio Castroneves, making his Verizon IndyCar Series return following a full-time switch this season to Team Penske’s sports-car program, placed sixth in the No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
The race tied an INDYCAR Grand Prix record with seven different leaders and featured 214 on-track passes with the 2018 car’s universal aero kit – an increase of 96 passes from a year ago.
There were two full-course caution periods for eight laps. The first came on the opening lap when Castroneves and teammate Simon Pagenaud touched, and Jordan King ran into the back of Pagenaud. The second caution waved on Lap 56 when Josef Newgarden spun trying to pass Bourdais.
Newgarden finished the race in 11th place, but continues leading the standings. The reigning series champion is two points ahead of Rossi, 26 up on Bourdais and 31 ahead of Dixon.
Following two days off to convert the cars and Indianapolis Motor Speedway to superspeedway oval configuration, practice for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil begins on Tuesday. Qualifying to set the 33-car field takes place May 19-20.
IndyCar Grand Prix results (Top 10)
1. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running
2. (18) Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running
3. (2) Robert Wickens, Honda, 85, Running
4. (3) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 85, Running
5. (8) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 85, Running
6. (10) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 85, Running
7. (4) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 85, Running
8. (7) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running
9. (17) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
10. (11) Takuma Sato, Honda, 85, Running