Will Power controlled a majority of 85 laps to claim his 30th career Verizon IndyCar Series win at the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The effort mirrors the 2014 start to the month of May for the Australian driver who was battling illness throughout the week.
Dixon was the first to spoil the Penske parade making up two spots after starting fourth. An early pass on Josef Newgarden saw the No. 9 lurk in third through most of the race, in typical Ice-Man fashion. Along with Hunter-Reay, Dixon was able capitalize on a poor late-race tire choice made be the No. 3 crew to get around Castroneves for second on Lap 68.
It was Ryan Hunter-Reay’s first podium since Pocono last year, but the result could be foreshadowing a successful month. The last time Ryan Hunter-Reay finished on the podium at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, he went on to win the Indianapolis 500.
In what could have been a Penske dominant performance after locking out the top three positions in qualifying, Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport fought hard to complete the podium. Simon Pagenaud finished fourth, for a strong points run ahead of teammate, Helio Castroneves in fifth.
Newgarden started third, but experienced issues in pit lane and was forced to serve two penalties for speeding. Juan Pablo Montoya struggled with pace and was not in the running for the lead from the start.
Pit strategy make the key differences in result today between Castroneves and Power. Castroneves didn’t take the black primary Firestone compound until the final stint of the race with Power using them after his first stop. The different in times between the two compounds was obvious as Castroneves had no difficulty pulling out to nearly a 4-second lead while Power was on the slower tires in the second quarter of the race. Castroneves lost two positions while on the slower compound in the closing stages of the race.
Both Graham Rahal and Spencer Pigot put on strong displays of race pace and strategy. Rahal came back to finish just outside the Top 5 after a disappointing result in qualifying saw him start in 20th. Also dicing through the field, Pigot gained seven positions through the 85-lap feature and found himself as high as 6th before pit stops.
For the first time in the event’s history, the race was not commenced with a yellow flag flag. In fact, the whole race went without yellow flag interruption, potentially catching some strategists off guard.
The results set up a tight points battle between Dixon and Pagenaud. Leading the Kiwi by ten points, Pagenaud tops the championship with 191 points. Newgarden sits 30 points back from Dixon and leads Castroneves and Power to complete the Top 5. Bourdais’ retirement bumps him back to 7th in the points, 55 points back.
Up next for the Verizon IndyCar Series is qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500. With practice occurring throughout next week, qualifying is scheduled for 11:00am Eastern on Saturday, May 20. Pole day follows the following Sunday, with sessions starting at 12:00pm. The famed 500-mile race is scheduled on Sunday, May 28.