- Team Penske's Power dominated for his 10th win
- Castroneves had an adventurous race
- Briscoe taken out of race due to contact
Power Leads From Start To Finish To Pace Team Penske At Barber Motorsports Park
It was a lot of fun and I am really happy for the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske guys.
Will Power took command early and led the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama from start to finish Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park as Team Penske earned its first victory of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Power, who won his second consecutive pole position to start the season on Saturday, led all 90 laps of the race in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda. The 30-year-old native of Toowoomba, Australia beat Scott Dixon to the finish line to claim his 10th Indy car career victory.
"I have got so much energy! That is one of the easiest races I have done physically," said Power, who won the pole last year at Barber, but went on to finish fourth for his worst result on a road or street circuit in 2010. "I have been training really hard for the season and Scott Dixon was pushing me to the limit at the end. It was a lot of fun and I am really happy for the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske guys. Leading the race from flag to flag just came down to getting the jump start and staying consistent the whole time with where I started. It came down to holding Scott Dixon off until the end."
Team Penske's Helio Castroneves had an adventurous race before he finished seventh in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Honda, while Ryan Briscoe, who ran among the leaders for much of the event, finished 21st in the No. 6 Penske Truck Rental machine after he was involved in a crash.
Castroneves, winner of the inaugural Grand Prix of Alabama in 2010, started fourth and ran well early before he got shuffled back during a double-file restart. Running in the new blue, white and red AAA Insurance color scheme, the No. 3 car suffered contact several times during the race but the team continued to persevere. Castroneves turned some of the fastest laps of the day late in the race as he battled to a top-10 result at the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course.
"It was a good day and a good start on our first road course race of the season," said Castroneves, who improved to 11th in the series standings with Sunday's finish. "We had our challenges this weekend in the AAA Insurance car as we were chasing the set-up quite a bit. I am still adjusting to these double-file restarts. I made a mistake on one of them and I had better learn them pretty quickly if I want to get the results that we deserve. My Team Penske crew gave me great work in the pits today and I have to say great job to Will for bringing a victory home for the team."
The Penske Truck Rental car was fast all weekend, and we were looking forward to battling for the lead at the end of the race.
Briscoe, who started second and was running fourth in the second half of the race, was involved in an incident with Ryan Hunter-Reay. The crash ended Briscoe's strong weekend and resulted in a penalty for Hunter-Reay.
"It was just a very frustrating finish to what could have been a great day," said Briscoe, who's tied for 21st in the standings after contact has hurt his results in each of the first two races this season. "The Penske Truck Rental car was fast all weekend, and we were looking forward to battling for the lead at the end of the race. Hunter-Reay was definitely going quick as he was on red tires and we were on blacks. I kept trying to give him room. It wasn't a passing zone where we were and he was just over-aggressive and drove into us. It's really disappointing, but we will be back strong next week at Long Beach."
Power, who finished second to Dario Franchitti in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series championship and in the 2011 season opener March 27 at St. Petersburg, Fla., said he's determined to win the title this year. He's off to strong start as he now leads the series standings 94-87 over Franchitti.
"It's the second year this group has been together on the Verizon car," said Power. "I'm going to be better on ovals. I'm very determined. I want to win this championship."
The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to action next weekend with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Live coverage begins Sunday, April 17 on Versus at 3:30 p.m. ET.
-source: team penske