Will Power dominated the race, but Graham Rahal stole the headlines.
1.5023 seconds. That was the margin between Will Power and Graham Rahal at the checkered flag. Power blew the competition away, but the single-car Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda was able to keep the pressure on. The reigning series champion became the first pole-sitter-turned-winner this season.
"I’m halfway there," an excited Power proclaimed after winning both the pole and race for the GP. "I’m going for all four! I’m very determined. Now I’ve won a championship. The Indy 500 is the absolutely on my mind, and that’s the one race I want to win.”
“That was hard when (Tim Cindric) told me the number I had to hit, and then that Rahal was closing," he added. "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."
Juan Pablo Montoya took the final spot on the podium and maintained his championship lead as the two drivers closest to him collided at the start of the race. As the field scrambled for position into the first corner, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon made contact, sending the Ganassi car. Jack Hawksworth, Josef Newgarden and others suffered damage as cars scattered in avoidance.
The margin is now just five points though with Power moving into second. Rahal's back-to-back runner-up finishes have launched him up to fifth, tied with Dixon for fourth.
The remainder of the race went without incident. Justin Wilson and Simon Pagenaud were two notable drivers who fell out of the running, Pagenaud coming down pit road while running in the fifth position.
Sebastian Bourdais and Charlie Kimball rounded out the top five. Castroneves finished sixth in his 300th career start, followed by Tony Kanaan, Stefano Coletti, Takuma Sato, and Scott Dixon, who rebounded well from that early spin after having to replace both the front and rear wing. Sato was the only other Honda driver inside the top ten.
Career day for rookie Coletti
Coletti enjoyed the best race of his young IndyCar career, fighting with some of the best in the series and coming home inside the top ten after topping the charts in warmup.
“We decided to go on another strategy than the others, we had a bit more downforce than them so we knew we would struggle on the straight and that’s what happened," said Coletti after a thrilling battle with Kanaan that led to a career-best result. "Tony was a lot quicker than me down the straight and I knew I just had to keep the inside every time I was coming out of the last corner and out of the chicane back there. I just went straight at turn one and he got me there, otherwise it was very nice and clean racing.”
|1||Will Power||Team Penske||1h42m42.0940|
|2||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||1.5023|
|3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske||7.1967|
|4||Sebastien Bourdais||KV Racing||7.7336|
|5||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||25.1179|
|6||Helio Castroneves||Team Penske||31.7352|
|7||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||32.3191|
|8||Stefano Coletti||KV Racing||35.3853|
|9||Takuma Sato||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||40.8267|
|10||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||47.4715|
|11||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||48.5410|
|12||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||49.5461|
|13||Carlos Munoz||Andretti Autosport||54.2372|
|14||Luca Filippi||CFH Racing||54.8713|
|15||Gabby Chaves||Bryan Herta Autosport||1m01.3092|
|16||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||1m07.2448|
|17||Sebastian Saavedra||Chip Ganassi Racing||1m09.2079|
|18||James Jakes||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1 Lap|
|19||Carlos Huertas||Dale Coyne Racing||1 Lap|
|20||Josef Newgarden||CFH Racing||1 Lap|
|21||J. R. Hildebrand||CFH Racing||1 Lap|
|22||Francesco Dracone||Dale Coyne Racing||2 Laps|
|Ret||Jack Hawksworth||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||-|
|Ret||Justin Wilson||Andretti Autosport||-|
|Ret||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||-|