Team Penske’s Will Power padded his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship race Sunday by finishing fourth in the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Power, who started the race in second place, endured a two-hour delay midway through the race with the rest of the field when portions of asphalt patching on the track broke apart. The track was repaired in time for a 15-lap dash to the finish, but the delay cut the race to 60 laps from its intended 90-lap distance.
“A tough day all around for the No. 12 Verizon car,” said Power. “We wanted to win this for Roger (Penske) and Chevrolet and unfortunately we weren’t able to go the distance. We are still leading the championship and I’m looking forward to getting back on the ovals.”
Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, who finished 17th, managed to complete the event after he spun out on the restart following the race delay. The 2001 and 2002 Detroit Grand Prix race winner was poised for a top-five finish as the highest ranking driver on the lead lap with red Firestone Firehawk tires before the incident.
“It’s a shame the way we ended up with the Shell Pennzoil car,” said Castroneves. “We had a great racecar that I thought was capable of a top-five. I didn’t realize how slick Turn 6 was and unfortunately spun out, ending our chances at a good day. The Shell Pennzoil machine was really good today, I am very disappointed we didn’t do better.”
Ryan Briscoe also was involved in a late-race incident and finished 16th in the Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix presented by shopautoweek.com. The two-time pole winner in 2012 fought hard for most of the race from his seventh-place starting position but was never able to make it to the front of the field.
“A disappointing finish for sure,” said Briscoe. “We felt like the Hitachi car was good enough to run up front but unfortunately we got caught with too much pick up on the tires when the race started, then we got turned around on the restart. This is certainly not where we wanted to finish, but I credit the whole Hitachi Team Penske crew for their hard work today.”
Power now has 232 points to lead the championship standings, 55 points ahead of Castroneves. Briscoe remains in eighth place in the standings after Sunday’s race with 142 points.
Sunday’s effort also marked the 44th career top-five finish for Power. A Team Penske driver has finished in the top-five in all six races in 2012.