Will Power’s rough start to the season got a little coarser following the 45th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The two-time winner at Long Beach started the 85-lap contest from third place and held that spot for the duration of the opening stint.

He picked up the lead for two laps when eventual race winner Alexander Rossi pitted on Lap 26. A flawless stop by his No. 12 Team Penske crew allowed him to jump ahead of Scott Dixon on the exchange and retake third.

He defended the position for four laps but saw his race come apart on Lap 33. His Chevrolet engine over-boosted in Turn 11 which hurt his speed and allowed Scott Dixon to close alongside down the front stretch.

He hit the marbles and escaped into the runoff area of Turn One. He quickly turned his car around and safely re-entered traffic in eighth place. He noted that the incident was a bit of erroring on the side of caution to not cause a crash but admitted enjoying the prior battle.

“Defiantly good battle,” he said. “I closed up on him and jumped him in the pit cycle. Then I had the overboost and couldn’t race hard into Turn 1. Rather than go into the tires, I avoided the risk and turned into the runoff.”

He remained in that spot throughout the stint and leapfroged Takuma Sato for seventh place on the final pit exchange on Lap 57.  He held on to that spot all the way to the checkered flag.

Power said after the race that a top five probably would have been achievable, but a win might have been hard to pull off given how dominant race winner Alexander Rossi was.

 “I thought we had a really good car,” he said. “It was so hard to tell because I never got behind Rossi. I felt if I could jump Dixon and stayed ahead of Josef in that pitstop sequence, we would have been okay. Push hard to try to get him.”

His result earned him three spots in the standings into a tie with James Hinchcliffe for sixth place. His season is off to a sluggish start with two finishes of 11th or worse and a third place at St. Petersburg. The 2014 series champion lamented that he needs to step up his game to contend for a title.

“We needed to finish ahead of all of the guys that finished ahead of us. We’re in a pretty big hole the first four races of the season. It’s pretty frustrating considering how fast we’ve been at some of these tracks. Even today we were super good in the race.”

While he has a hole to climb out of, Power is excited about attacking the forthcoming Month of May. He was victorious last year in both the IndyCar Grand Prix on the road course and took an elusive win in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

The road to May begins with a series test on April 24. Power feels bullish about repeating his performance and is eager to move forward.

“We get a bit of testing there so we’ll have a good indication how the car is,” he said. “We have a slight change in the aero rules, so we’ll see what happens. The team always does a fantastic job, and we’ll look forward to it.”

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