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Flawless full-Power victory in Alabama

The long caution period meant that any concerns the teams had about fuel consumption were in the past - the drivers were good to go to the end of the race, and at the restart on lap 68 Scott Dixon made his biggest challenge on Will Power's lead of the entire afternoon; Power, however, had it covered, and there was no way for the Kiwi to pass. When Dixon dropped back into second, it seemed clear that the race win had been decided, and with no more cautions forthcoming for the remainder of the race distance he did indeed get no further chances.

The main storyline of the next 15 laps was on the plummeting #22 of Danica Patrick. She took the restart in seventh but was soon once again going backward on those unchanged worn tyres, overtaken on almost successive corners lap after lap by Vitor Meira, Charlie Kimball, a recovering Ryan Hunter-Reay - until in the end she was right at the back of the lead lap, and even then she was struggling. The Andretti Autosports team initially tried to reassure her that the ageing tyres would come good; then simply urged her to do her best; and then finally, far too late, brought her in on lap 94 for a new set of rubber which meant she was now a lap off the lead, the worse possible outcome of all possible scenarios. That no-tyre pit stop gamble had been an awful mistake.

In the closing laps, Will Power had pulled out a lead of over 3s from Dixon, who in turn was 12s ahead of his team mate Dario Franchitti in third who had a similar margin over Marco Andretti in fourth, with Marco heading a train of half a dozen drivers packed together, that included a battling Oriol Servia and Tony Kanaan. Under pressure, Servia made a mistake with three laps to go and locked up severely into turn 6 which almost allowed Kanaan through. Servia just held on and was extra careful next time around to cover the line with precision to make sure that Kanaan got no ideas.

They were followed by Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, the ALMS LMP1 champion sitting in for the injured Ana Beatriz and doing a fine job delivering a solid run and keeping his nose out of trouble, reaping the rewards of eighth place in his IndyCar d├ębut as a result. Takuma Sato would have been in this mix as well, but with two laps to go his car ran dry and he was forced into the pits for a splash and dash that saw him return to the track at the back of the lead lap.

But the win itself was never in doubt. Not even to the man himself, it seemed: "It was a rather relaxing day actually," Power said. "I was just cruising, but had to push, push toward the end" as he claimed his tenth IndyCar career win.

The win puts Will Power at the top of the IndyCar points standings, albeit only by 7pts ahead of Dario Franchitti. Given that Power is the acknowledged master of road events at the moment, he needs to maximise his advantage in this early part of the season before the oval events start to take over beginning with the Indianapolis 500 in May, where the momentum may swing more toward Ganassi and Dario Franchitti.

Meanwhile, a big cheer for the person in third place in the championship this week: Tony Kanaan, despite signing up for KV Racing Technology only two days before the start of the season, is off to a flying start in his 2011 campaign.

IndyCar is in action again next week, for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17.

Full race results and times available in the results section.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
16-18 July, 2010, Toronto, Ontario CA #12 Verizon Team Penske`s Will Power.
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power and Takuma Sato crash out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power crashes out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, and Graham Rahal go three-wide going into Turn 1 during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti hoist their trophies on Victory Lane following the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday, June 27 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti hoist their trophies on Victory Lane following the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday, June 27 2015. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, and Tony Kanaan go three-wide during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Will Power crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power out front in the early stages of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, June 13, 2015 capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Power will start in the front row with teammate Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, June 13, 2015 capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Power will start in the front row with teammate Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet V-6. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power wins the Verizon P1 Award and the pole position for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power affixes the Verizon P1 Award emblem to his Chevrolet after winning the pole position for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power wins the Verizon P1 Award and the pole position for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power peels out of his pit stand for qualifications for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Energizer Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory with teammate Tony Kanaan Saturday, June 6, 2015, after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Canaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet finished in second-place. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
James Hinchcliffe gives the command to fire engines for the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 6 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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OZFan - Unregistered

April 11, 2011 2:32 PM

@ BOSS B: Want to put some money to your words? Nobody will to replace Helio. If there's a team that can afford three drivers, that's Penske. Besides, do you know many three-times Indy 500 winners among active drivers? Guess you don't, nor does The Captain. Hence, Helio will ramain driving for Team Penske as long as he wishes.

Boss B - Unregistered

April 11, 2011 3:00 AM

Amazing. The only reason he didn't win the title last year is because Roger Penske let all of his drivers race. He should have employed team orders toward the end of the season, to boost power's point lead. Penske should replace castroneves in my opinion. Sportscar racing will loose another star when Indycar teams start to recruit Pagenaud.



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