(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power backed up his Verizon P1 Award and track qualifying lap record with a dominant victory in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Power, driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, led 65 of the 82 laps and won by 1.5023 seconds over Graham Rahal on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Power’s 25th career victory broke a tie with Bobby Rahal and Ralph DePalma for 16th on the all-time Indy car list and tied Gordon Johncock for 15th place.
Power is the fifth different winner in as many Verizon IndyCar Series races this season. He moved to second in the championship standings, five points (171-166) behind teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who earned his third podium finish of the season.
“I’m halfway there. The Indy 500 is on my mind and I’m very determined to get it done,” said Power, who seeks to become the first driver to win on the road course and 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. “In this race, the first lap was as fast as the last lap. Honestly, I think it was staying ahead at the start and the restart and then it was managing that traffic and just the pit sequence. My crew did an awesome job and saved enough fuel there at the end with Graham coming hard. I’m really happy to win here at this awesome facility. I just want to get one two weeks from now.”
Rahal, carrying the Honda banner in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, was runner-up for the second consecutive race.
“The pit stops were good, we were able to make some moves when we had to. I gave it everything I had, just as Barber (Motorsports Park on April 26), to catch Power. He was just a little too strong,” said Rahal, who qualified 17th.
Four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais finished a season-high fourth for his third consecutive top 10 in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs-KVSH Racing Chevrolet, and Charlie Kimball advanced nine spots from to his starting position to finish a season-high fifth in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
For the second time in three races, there was only one caution flag. A full-course caution was called on Lap 1 as multiple cars were involved in an incident entering Turn 1.
The caution was costly for front-row starter Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves, who qualified third in his 300th Indy car start. Following two caution laps, it was a sprint to the finish for the 25 entries, but Castroneves rallied to finish sixth and Dixon 10th.
Teams return today to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Indianapolis 500 practice. Qualifications are May 16-17. Six former champions are among the drivers named to the entries filed for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24.
Thirty-three drivers have been named for 34 entries. Chevrolet engines will power 17 entries, Honda 17 in the race, which will mark the debut of superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork produced by the engine manufacturers.
The former Indianapolis 500 champions entered are Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Tony Kanaan (2013), Scott Dixon (2008), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002 and 2009), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), and Buddy Lazier (1996) of Lazier Racing Partners.
Castroneves will try to join one of the most exclusive clubs in worldwide motorsports; four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves is attempting to become the fourth four-time winner of the race, joining A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987), and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991).