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Las Vegas 2007: Will 'powers' to first victory.

The Champ Car World Series saw its 2007 season open at a new venue, with a new car and a new race winner as Team Australia's Will Power converted pole position into victory in the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix.

Australian born Power, driving for the Derrick Walker/Craig Gore co-owned Team Australia outfit, capped a weekend of 'firsts' for the series as he crossed the finish line 16-seconds ahead of Minardi Team USA's rookie Robert Doornbos. In doing so Power became the first Australian to win a Champ Car event and laid to rest some of the fears that the 2007 season would turn into a Sebastien Bourdais benefit.

Although the first race of Champ Cars Panoz 'era' was blighted by a small, 17-car grid, several early caution periods and an uncomfortable level of mechanical problems Power proved himself a worthy winner by leading 38 of 68 laps around the new 2.44-mile Vegas strip street circuit.

The inaugural Vegas Grand Prix certainly got started with a bang as outside front row qualifier Paul Tracy wrestled the lead away from Power at the first corner with a brave outside pass whilst behind them, Newman-Haas rookie Graham Rahal saw his Champ Car debut come to an end on the start line when he hit the wall.

Tracy continued to lead during the subsequent caution period and, in a stuttering start to the new season, it wasn't until lap eleven, following another caution period, that Power was able to return the favour and retake the lead with another clean 'racing' pass.

When Briton Dan Clarke hit the tyre barriers on lap 14, spoiling a good top six run for the Minardi Team USA driver, fears grew that the race would turn into something of a farce but despite an unusual amount of mechanical problems, including a series of apparently faulty refuelling systems that ruined potential winning runs from Tracy and Dale Coyne Racing's latest recruit Bruno Junqueira, the remainder of the race ran without interruption.

Despite resuming the lead during pitstops, Tracy's bid for victory was basically ended as early as lap 27 when his Forsythe team were unable to get the fuelling rig to connect, forcing the Canadian to make another stop several laps later. Although that effectively put Power in the driving seat for the rest of the afternoon it gave Tracy an opportunity to really hammer the new car and do some important 'overtaking research.' On both counts, the new Panoz stood up well, which at least bodes well for the remainder of the season, once the current spare parts shortage and mechanical niggles are sorted.

Following Tracy's slightly delayed final stop, Power resumed the lead for good on lap 55 having also waited through a protracted pit stop window that also saw his former Team Australia stablemate Alex Tagliani and an on-form Junqueira take turns in the lead. While Tracy would go all out guns blazing in the closing laps to fight back and take the final podium position, was able to cruise through the final 13 laps to the chequered flag.

“We had a good car,” stated Power. “It handled well all day. The only issue I had was a really long brake pedal at the end of the race. But we had an 18-second lead, so we just brought it home and brought Derrick Walker his second win since '99. It's his birthday. So a pole and a win, I think that's a pretty good present for him.”



Related Pictures

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2007 ChampCar World Series. 6-8 April 2007. Las Vegas Grand Prix.  Las Vegas, Nevada. Will Power, Race winner.
Robert Doornbos - Minardi Team USA Panoz-Cosworth DP01   [pic courtesy Champ Car World Series]
ChampCar World Series.  1-3 April 2007. Las Vegas Grand Prix. Las Vegas, Nv. Paul Tracy
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power on pit road during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Penske team mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power race side-by-wide during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya crosses the line ahead of Penske team mate Will Power to win the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, Mark Miles and Derrick Walker announce the addition of Boston to the 2016 IndyCar Series itinerary. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud leads Will Power at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Thursday May 14 2015. (Photo by: Mike Harding for IndyCar Media)
Will Power and Simon Pagenaud at practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Thursday May 14 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (right), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar Saturday, May 9, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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