Power wins in Detroit for Penske, Chevy… and himself
Will Power ended a 13-month victory drought with a composed drive from eighth on the grid to victory lane in Detroit’s second race, leading championship leader Simon Pagenaud in a Penske-Chevrolet 1-2.
The crucial move for Power came on the final restart 17 laps from the end, when he passed Pagenaud for fifth place, and once the drivers on an alternate strategy up ahead pitted, he brought it home for his 26th Indy car win, but his first since last year’s Grand Prix of Indy.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was a fighting third for Andretti Autosport-Honda, keeping the pressure on Pagenaud all the way to the checkered flag but coming up half a second short.
Behind the top three, Josef Newgarden drove an excellent race from 17th on the grid to snatch fourth from Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who made a small error in the closing laps. Sixth went to yesterday’s runner-up Conor Daly in the Dale Coyne Racing-Honda.
Tony Kanaan, who had committed to a three stop strategy from the start, was seventh, ahead of those on alternate strategies, the quickest of whom was yesterday’s winner, KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who claimed the fastest lap of the race.
Penske’s other two horses, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya, had disastrous days. Montoya crashed out at half-distance, while Castroneves got hosed by pit strategy while leading.
Story of the race
Montoya and Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball started on the blacks while others decided to learn from yesterday’s race – that the softer red-walled compound did not drop off as rapidly as expected.
At the end of the final warm-up lap, Graham Rahal headed straight into pitlane with a too-soft brake pedal, but everyone’s eyes swiftly turned to the very front of the pack. Castroneves almost put Dixon in the wall with a rapid change of direction, while behind them chaos broke out. Kimball decided there wasn’t enough room to pass Hawksworth into Turn 1, so moved left again which pushed an ambitious Carlos Munoz (Andretti) into James Hinchcliffe, sending the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver into the wall.
Takuma Sato went right to avoid the wrecking SPM machine, but direct into the path of Alexander Rossi’s Andretti Autosport-Honda, spinning the Foyt car around. Max Chilton, aiming to avoid this second crash, braked heavily, locked up and plowed into the wall, and then Hinchcliffe’s stricken car. The final part of the farce was Marco Andretti unavoidably riding over the front wing of Sato’s stationary broadside car.
On the lap 5 restart, Pagenaud retained his lead ahead of Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Castroneves, Mikhail Aleshin (SPM), Dixon, Power, Bourdais and Montoya, although Montoya re-passed Bourdais within a lap. Behind Bourdais ran Munoz, Newgarden, Kimball, Daly and Rossi.
After 10 laps, Hunter-Reay was still hanging tough within a second of Pagenaud, but Kanaan had dropped to 2.5sec behind Hunter-Reay. At the end of that lap, Sato stopped to change his reds to blacks.
Rossi stopped at the end of lap 11, taking on black tires and also a new front wing damaged by his clash with Sato, while Bourdais came in for blacks at the end of lap 12.
On lap 13, Montoya’s decision to start on blacks started to pay off, and he moved past Power for seventh into Turn 7, and zoomed in on the tail of Dixon who was now getting held up by Aleshin. That gave Dixon the hurry up and he passed Aleshin for fifth on lap 15. Montoya tried to take advantage too but Aleshin made a move that meant ‘no way,’ before peeling off into the pits.
Kimball, also on blacks, was finding a similar pace to Montoya, and barged his way around the outside of Newgarden at Turn 7 as the pair of them homed in on Power.
Of the frontrunners, three-stopper Kanaan blinked first, pitting at the end of lap 17.
At this point Pagenaud had a 2.3sec lead over Hunter-Reay, who ran 1.5sec ahead of Castroneves. The Brazilian was 2.7 clear of the Dixon vs Montoya battle which had now pulled 6sec clear of Power. On lap 18, Castroneves and Dixon set their fastest laps of the race so far, indicating they had nursed their reds well. Hunter-Reay did the same on lap 20 and Pagenaud and Power did the same on lap 21.
Now Pagenaud’s lead was 5sec over RHR, as Power set his fastest lap of the race again, while keeping clear of Kimball. Up ahead, however, Montoya tried to pass Dixon with a late move at Turn 7 on lap 24, breaking his own front wing on the tail of the Ganassi car and sending both pit ward, the latter with a right-rear puncture. Also stopping that lap were Pagenaud, Hunter-Reay, Power, Kimball and Newgarden, leaving Castroneves in the lead for one lap before he too pitted.
Pagenaud emerged still in front, but Kanaan and Bourdais demoted Hunter-Reay to fourth which became fifth as Castroneves also filtered back out ahead of the #28 Andretti car. Behind Ryan was his teammate Munoz, Kimball, Aleshin and Montoya. However, like Kanaan and Bourdais, Munoz was on a three-stop strategy and therefore would have to stop twice more.
With lighter tanks and warm tires, Kanaan closed rapidly on Pagenaud, getting within 0.8sec of the leader on lap 31 before Simon stabilized the gap. Two laps later Bourdais and Kimball stopped again.
TK was just in time, before the yellows flew for a one-car accident to Montoya, who after running a 10-lap stint on reds, crashed into the wall on his out lap on black tires.
Under yellow, Kanaan and Rossi were finally able to stop at the end of lap 36.
Thus the restart saw the field line up in the order Pagenaud, Castroneves, Hunter-Reay, Power, Newgarden, Dixon, Bourdais, Daly, Spencer Pigot, Kimball, Rahal, Munoz, Aleshin, and the drivers generally played nice with each other, although Kimball made a particularly muscular move on Pigot, which may have contributed to the Ed Carpenter Racing rookie pitting with a broken toe-link.
Castroneves, who had taken a long look at Pagenaud into Turn 3 on the restart, then nailed it perfectly the following lap, taking a wide entry to T3 as Pagenaud hugged the inside line on entry. Castroneves then cut across to the apex to take the inside line on exit, and assumed the lead.
The Brazilian had pulled out almost 2sec on Pagenaud by lap 44, while the Frenchmen held off Hunter-Reay and Power. Newgarden was a further 2sec adrift of these four trying to nurse his red tires while also holding off Dixon, Bourdais, Kimball and Daly, although the latter pitted on lap 47. Josef gave up on the red tires at the end of lap 48.
Pagenaud with a series of fastest laps cut back into Castroneves’ lead and it was down to 1sec before Pagenaud, Hunter-Reay and Power pitted on lap 49. Power just edged out ahead of the Andretti Autosport car, but as they emerged, the full-course caution flew as Jack Hawksworth stopped on track at Turn 1.
That cooked Castroneves’ chances as the field had been bunched by the yellow, and he emerged 15th.
Bourdais, Kimball, Rahal and Rossi remained out, but were now chased by those who would not have to stop again – Pagenaud, Power, Hunter-Reay, Dixon, Newgarden, Daly, Sato, Kanaan, Chaves and Marco Andretti.
Following the lap 53 restart, Power passed Pagenaud around the outside of Turn 3, leaving the #22 Penske driver trying to hold off Hunter-Reay, while up front, the alternate strategy cars could do no more than charge and try and put as much gap between themselves and the pack before making their third stop.
With a brilliant run that included a 1min14.8072sec lap, Bourdais had a 5.3sec lead over Kimball by the time they both stopped on lap 59. Rahal stopped on lap 60 and Rossi on 61.
That left Power up front with a 1.7sec lead over Pagenaud which he nursed to the checkered flag, ahead of Hunter-Reay, Newgarden, Dixon, Daly and Kanaan. Bourdais got back up to eighth, to beat Andretti and Sato, but poor Rahal and Rossi were left languishing in 11th and 12th.
|1||Will Power||Penske (C)||1:42:22.2672|
|2||Simon Pagenaud||Penske (C)||+0.9203|
|3||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti (H)||+1.4711|
|4||Josef Newgarden||Carpenter (C)||+2.4602|
|5||Scott Dixon||Ganassi (C)||+3.1575|
|6||Conor Daly||Coyne (H)||+7.1263|
|7||Tony Kanaan||Ganassi (C)||+11.3012|
|8||Sébastien Bourdais||KVSH (C)||+12.9361|
|9||Marco Andretti||Andretti (H)||+26.4201|
|10||Takuma Sato||Foyt (H)||+27.7105|
|11||Graham Rahal||Rahal (H)||+28.0410|
|12||Alexander Rossi||Andretti-Herta (H)||+28.5507|
|13||Gabby Chaves||Coyne (H)||+29.2530|
|14||Helio Castroneves||Penske (C)||+29.6631|
|15||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti (H)||+30.4879|
|16||Charlie Kimball||Ganassi (C)||+30.6922|
|17||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt (H)||+1:10.5229|
|18||Spencer Pigot||Carpenter (C)||+3 laps|
|19||Jack Hawksworth||Foyt (H)||+22 laps|
|20||Juan Pablo Montoya||Penske (C)||+37 laps|
|21||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt (H)||+70 laps|
|22||Max Chilton||Ganassi (C)||+70 laps|
(C) = Chevrolet, (H) = Honda
Pagenaud on pole for Detroit’s race 2, Power is penalized
Power and Pagenaud have no issues over crucial pass
About this article
|Location||The Raceway on Belle Isle|
|Drivers||Helio Castroneves , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud|