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Perfect Penske performance at Infineon

By the time all this happened, Will Power and the Penske Gang were safely home past the chequered flag, and the teams's plan had been executed flawlessly beyond their wildest expectations. "It was just an unbelievable team performance, the best weekend you could ever have," said Power in victory lane. "The entire Team Penske was very strong and did a fantastic job with the cars."

It's a key result for Will Power, and with Franchitti held back in fourth place the win puts Power 21pts closer to Franchitti in the championships, reducing the Scot's lead to just 26pts with four races still to go. "I have been unbelievably motivated after a few bad races this season," said Power about his determination to get back on top after a rough couple of months. "I knew that Verizon Team Penske was better than this as a team."

Helio Castroneves was if anything even more thrilled at being back on the podium after a season well below his normal expectations. "The Team Penske sweep shows how strong our team is and I am really happy for us. I certainly wanted to win, but Will was in a class of his own today and when you look at his lap times in practice and qualifying you knew he would be strong.

"I was really pushing it during the race and I thought with the help of traffic I may be able to gain on him. He saved enough push to passes for the end of the race to take advantage of it and he was the winner," he added. "I was really excited to try a battle to the end with Will and I, but he had the upper hand today and I am happy for him."

All that Franchitti and Dixon could do against such complete flag-to-flag dominance was to sit on pit wall and shrug, and confess that they were soundly outclassed and needed to find something extra between now and next weekend. "Congratulations to Penske," said Franchitti, conceding that their rivals were in a different league today. "They've done a better job than we have and they deserve it. I spent all day staring at Ryan's back wing and I couldn't make anything happen even when he was getting held up in traffic."

"We finished the race," he said, trying hard to be philosophical. "You're going to have days like this. We didn't make any mistakes though and we got a fourth place so we're going to improve things for Baltimore. We'll be working hard on that this week."

Dixon agreed that it had all been a bit frustrating. "It was a tough day. Physically it was tough. It was tough to keep the car on the track. We didn't have the best balance with everything going on and we tried to get rid of the bump and steer through the middle."

At times this season, save for Will Power's stand-out performances, Penske have looked a rather pale imitation of themselves - especially in their deeply mediocre Indianapolis 500 campaign - so Infineon represents a sudden, dramatic and unequivocal return to their old, familiar, dominant selves as proved by it being the first 1-2-3 the team have pulled off since Nazareth in 1994 (in fact it's the first time any team has swept the top three since Andretti Autosport managed it at St. Petersburg in 2005.) By way of happy coincidence, it also comes on the same weekend that Penske put Brad Keselowski into victory lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, showing a general organisation-wide renaissance at work.

Roger Penske was a tired but happy man as he left Infineon Raceway on Sunday evening. But already, the success was behind him: all that matters now is that they can do it all again, just as flawlessly, in a week's time at the maiden running of the Baltimore street race event.

Full race results and positions available.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato and Martin Plowman battle on track at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Cars battle on track at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Will Power leads the field on track at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media]
Will Power in action at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media]
Helio Castroneves, Roger Penske, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe celebrate in victory lane at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
Ryan Hunter-Reay Indy 500 practice 2017
Will Power Indy 500 practice
Sebastian Saavedra headshot
Simon Pagenaud Phoenix IndyCar
Josef Newgarden, Penske, IndyCar, Barber Motorsports Park
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]

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Julie - Unregistered

August 31, 2011 2:58 AM

I have to say Congrats to Team Penske for a perfect display of team driving. I have to disagree with a lot of other sites talking about Will P's dominate drive. The only reason he was able to pull away was that his two teammates were holding everyone else up. I think the race would have been much closer and more exciting had Dario or Scott qualifyied 2nd. At least then Will would have actually had to work for his win not just cruise around the track like a practice session. I get that the team tactics were to get points for the championship but it feels like the fans were cheated out of an actual race.

Don - Unregistered

August 29, 2011 7:53 PM

Great job to the Penske team and Will! Keep closing the gap next week at the Baltimore GP. Cheers to Pantano for having an outstanding race.

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