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Power drives home the points in Long Beach

The final word, though, has to go to the victorious Will Power, who seemed genuinely surprised to have overcome the ten-place grid penalty for the Chevy engine switch-out, saved fuel obsessively and still had enough left to claim the chequered flag over Pagenaud's spirited drive-of-the-day.

"After last week, you can never say never," he said. "We really didn't think it was possible to win from 12th place here ... It's a great day for the Verizon Team Penske Chevy."

Together with the victory in Alabama, the Long Beach triumph boosts Power into a strong lead of the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, 24pts ahead of his Penske team mate Helio Castroneves who is running neck and neck with Pagenaud and just ahead of Dixon and Hinchcliffe.

The reigning champion? Don't ask. Back in 14th place on less than half the points Power has amassed in the three races so far, 2012 is looking increasingly like it's going to be an annus horribilis for Dario Franchitti to forget as soon as possible.

And it's starting to look equally grim for Honda at this point. Having been handed an open goal by the mid-week Chevrolet engine swap-out, the Honda stable manifestly failed to perform: Pagenaud's was the only Honda in the top six, and the next highest was Sato in eighth and Wilson in tenth.

After three Penske-Chevrolet victories in three races, at the very least you can predict with a reasonable level of certainty that the 2012 champion is going to be one of those drivers in a car sporting a Chevy 'bow-tie' insignia. But realistically you can narrow that down to a field of one and say that your incoming champion will be sporting an Aussie accent, a highly improbable name, but an indisputable, incomparable driving talent.

Full race results available
Official starting grid
Qualifying report
Qualifying times and session details

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12-15 April, 2012, Long Beach, California, USA. Josef Newgarden tries to pass Dario Franchitti going into the first turn at the start. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. LAT Photo USA. [Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA]
12-15 April, 2012, Long Beach, California, USA. Winner Will Power takes the chequered flag. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. LAT Photo USA. [Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA]
Ryan Hunter-Reay Indy 500 practice 2017
Fernando Alonso Indy 500 practice 2
Will Power Indy 500 practice
Johnny Rutherford, McLaren-Honda-Andretti [Credit: McLaren Racing]
Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda-Andretti, [Credit: McLaren]
Simon Pagenaud Phoenix IndyCar
James Hinchcliffe, Long Beach, IndyCar
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
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
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]

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Don - Unregistered

April 17, 2012 5:31 AM

Thanks Crash for the best written Long Beach race article I have read! And congrats to Will for driving a fantastic race. I wish Simon would have had one more lap to try to get by WP and make it an even more interesting finish.

SP3 - Unregistered

April 16, 2012 9:56 PM

More questionable calls by the officials. If RHR can be given a drive through for 'hitting' Sato then Franchitti should have also for hitting Newgarden. In the former, Sato is the one who turned in on RHR at the last second. In the former, Franchitti didn't even attempt to follow the normal line and ran into the side of Newgarden. It was clear as day when live and even more so in hindsight but the officials are (still) looking after their golden boy Dario. Go back and watch both incidents again before posting that you think I'm wrong.

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