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Power looking forward to oval deciders

Power's championship prospects were helped when Dario Franchitti made a costly mistake midway through the race that put him at the back of the field, while successful pit stops saw Marco Andretti pop up into third place ahead of Alex Tagliani and Oriol Servia in the latter stages, all of whom contributed in keeping Dario's fightback bottled up in eighth place by the chequered flag.

"Marco - pleasant surprise to see him up there on the last restart," said Power understandably as a result. "Always have good battles with him. His granddad [Mario] was the ultimate driver."

And Marco Andretti was certainly delighted to have finished on the podium for only the second time this year, and on a road course which is not normally thought of as his strength.

"We're definitely happy. Actually, I was surprised as well. We made gains," he said. "We didn't roll off the truck like this ... We just went in the right direction. We found the direction and we kept hammering at it and made gains every session."

At the end, though, he certainly didn't have anything like enough to challenge Dixon and Power for the race win. "I was just hoping that Will and Dixon would take each other out!" he joked at the post-race press conference.

"I was hoping that Dixon would just take himself out ..." responded Power with a laugh.

Both Will and Marco said it was sad that this first, very successful run on the Motegi road course was the last time they would ever get to run here. "It's a shame," said Andretti. "Will and I were talking about this is a proper road course. The fans are what make our event. It's a shame that we're leaving."

Race winner Scott Dixon agreed with them both: "I hope at some point in the near future we can come back. The fans here are amazing. I hope we put on a good show today."

The regret at this being the last event here is despite the hot and humid conditions that made the weekend very hard work, physically.

"Good thing Will and I went for a run before the weekend together," said Marco. "Ryan Hunter-Reay and myself and the Penske guys, we went for a run to get acclimated to the weather. As drivers, part of our job is to show up fit enough to where we can go ten-tenths the whole time. Yeah, I feel good."

And of course there was also the small matter of the earthquakes that were still shaking the region periodically, including a significant aftershock on Friday.




Related Pictures

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Will Power and Dario Franchitti pose together on the road course track at Motegi. [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon celebrates in victory lane at Motegi. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon and Will Power celebrate on the podium at Motegi. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Will Power accepts the Mario Andretti Road Course award again for the second successive year. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6; and Tony Kanaan (right), driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6; celebrate with Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who raced to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power finished second. Kanaan finished third. Chevrolet took the top six places in the first race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power clash in the closing laps of the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, March 28, 2015, winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning pole position at St Petersburg - Saturday March 28 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand prior to practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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