Power Prevails in St. Petersburg Will Power is now two-for-two on the IZOD IndyCar Series circuit, winning an eventful, rain-delayed Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Monday on the back of his victory two weeks ago at the season opener in Sao...
Power Prevails in St. Petersburg
Will Power is now two-for-two on the IZOD IndyCar Series circuit, winning an eventful, rain-delayed Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Monday on the back of his victory two weeks ago at the season opener in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Heavy rains, lightning and course flooding Sunday in St. Petersburg, Florida, forced race officials to postpone the 100-lap street circuit event until 10 a.m. EDT Monday. But clear skies and mild temperatures greeted the impressively large crowd that returned for this morning's race, and they witnessed an action-filled contest featuring 10 lead changes among eight different race leaders.
Power led from the pole at the start, but was soon passed by both Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon. Dixon quickly forced his way past Andretti to lead until the first full-course caution, on Lap 27, when the field split up into alternate pit strategies. Meanwhile, defending series champion Dario Franchitti fell to the back of the pack after spinning on the opening lap, setting the stage for an impressive late-race charge.
The middle stages of the race saw multiple lead changes, with Vitor Meira, Raphael Matos and Ryan Briscoe all taking turns at the point. Several drivers also were eliminated in crashes, the most spectacular one taking place on Lap 47 as suspension failure sent Dan Wheldon into the rear of Mario Moraes and both cars into the Turn 1 wall. No driver injuries were reported.
The final caution of the day, on Lap 74 for contact between Graham Rahal and Simona de Silvestro in Turn 1, set up a 21-lap sprint to the finish with all cars having made their final stops. A lightning-quick final stop from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing saw Justin Wilson take the restart just behind leader Power, and the pair battled to the finish with the margin of victory just over eight-tenths of a second.
The Team Penske duo of Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves finished third and fourth, respectively, while Franchitti put on the drive of the day over the final laps, moving from 10th when the green flag waved on Lap 79 to fifth at the checkers.
For the second consecutive race weekend in this young season, all 24 Honda- powered drivers and teams completed the race weekend without a single failure for the Honda Indy V-8 engine. This weekend the teams logged a total of 8,118 trouble-free miles.
Will Power (#12 Penske Racing Honda) started 1st, finished 1st, 2nd IndyCar Series win in as many events in 2010: "It's just great. This has been a fantastic start to my first full season with Penske Racing, and I'm really happy for all my guys. We won the pole, led the most race laps, and got the victory. Race weekends don't come much better than this."
Justin Wilson (#22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 2nd: "Everyone at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing did a great job throughout the weekend, but I've really got to complement my guys on that final pit stop. It put us in great position to challenge for the win. I pressured Will [Power] as much as I could, and I saw him get a bit sideways a couple of times, but I could never get quite close enough to pull along side. But this is a great start to the season for us and if we keep it up, the wins will come."
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Racing Honda) started 13th, finished 5th: "I messed up on the first lap and that cost us a lot, as did the cut tire and unscheduled pit stop around mid-race. But we never gave up and I had a great car that was fast all day. The racing was hard, but fair, and it was a lot of fun out there. It was a great finish for us and I'm glad so many fans came back today to watch."
Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "We saw a lot of great racing, with many lead changes and some interesting pit strategy that added to the drama. Any number of drivers could have emerged on top today. It's really encouraging to see so many strong teams throughout the field and multiple front-runners. The power assist appeared to come into play a couple of times today, and the new reverse gear also seemed to work well. I want to say a special 'thanks' to all the fans who stuck around through the inclement weather on Sunday and then came back for today's race. I'm glad they got to see an exciting event."