Power Sizzles In Indianapolis 500 Victory Romp

Will Power, winner of the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [John Wiedemann Photo]

By Joe Jennings

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power has had a highly successful Verizon IndyCar Series career with one exception – victory in the Indianapolis 500 had eluded him. Today, in the 102nd running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the quiet-spoken Australian gave it his all to win the world’s most famous race, allowing him to check off the missing box and to add his face to the shiny Borg-Warner trophy.

He became the 72nd different driver to win the race and the first Australian to do so. And he scored for the 34th time in IndyCar action.

Driving the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, he rendered the famed team with its record 17th Indianapolis 500 victory.

The temperature reached 91 degrees, making the 500 the second hottest one ever. The heat and humidity didn’t keep away some 300,000 sunbaked fans.

Power started third and he led four times for a total of 59 laps. His margin of victory was a convincing 3.1 seconds.

“This win is overwhelming. I just screamed on those last two laps as I knew I was going to win it,” Power stated. “It is just amazing and just what I needed. I wanted it so badly and it finally came through. When you want something so bad, it feels so good when it finally comes true.

“This is a race when you want to lead and with a good car, it allowed you to pull away. This car is much different from the previous car.”

Running third behind Stefan Wilson and Jack Harvey on the last restart on lap 193, Power chased down the two of them until they had to pit for fuel two laps later, putting him into the lead for the final time.

Said team owner Roger Penske, “Will won this race today because he was the best; there’s no question about it. I am just so thrilled to have 17 wins. I am not looking back, only looking forward. We will be back next year.”

Carpenter, who led a race high 65 laps, brought his Chevrolet home in second with former winner Scott Dixon third in his Honda.

“I’ll feel pretty good about this in a couple days, I think,” said the frustrated Carpenter. “The team really did a great job all month long, all day long really. Pit stops were really good. It was almost like being out front early probably hurt us a little bit just because guys started saving fuel a little earlier. We got behind on the fuel save. Whatever segment Will got by us, went a couple laps further, my out lap we had traffic. One of those exchanges.

“Track position was everything we thought it was going to be coming into the day. You heard the drivers talk all week. Just couldn’t quite get it back from him. We were saving fuel through the middle part of the race when everyone was essentially trying to cut out a stop. That was a little odd.

“You never know how these races are going to unfold. I thought for the most part the team executed well. I thought there’s only a couple little things that I can reflect on in the short-term right now that maybe could have made a difference.

“All in all, I thought Will won the race and we ended up second, and we’ll be happy with that. Come back stronger next year.”

Dixon’s team was following a different fuel strategy than many others but it didn’t work out as planned.
“As soon as we pitted, right before the end of that caution, we tried to obviously take on as much fuel as possible, be the first in that scenario,” he said. “We knew there was probably three or four others that were trying.

“But, yeah, we really struggled on restarts today. The first and second gear just seemed to be way out of sync to the pace of what everybody was restarting. First to be on a limiter, second, I was like a sitting duck, wouldn’t accelerate, gear was way too long.

“Yeah, I don’t know, we lost a lot of positions in that scenario. But the Penske car felt pretty good. It was consistent. It was good in traffic. It was very difficult to pull off passes today. Yeah, so for me, to be honest, huge credit to the team. They did a superb job of trying to pull off that strategy. Obviously, we have got very lucky with that caution with T.K., which was enough to give us a bit of a window to get to the end.

“Yeah, definitely a crazy day out there.”

2016 winner Alexander Rossi drove spectacularly, putting on amazing moves, to garner fourth place. He started 32nd.

Fifth went to Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The second-five finishers were Simon Pagenaud, Carlos Munoz, Josef Newgarden, rookie Robert Wickens and Graham Rahal.

18 cars finished on the lead lap.

Seven caution flags slowed the race for a total of 41 laps. Accidents took out 2017 winner Takuma Sato, Tony Kanaan, James Davison, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Ed Jones and Danica Patrick.

The only driver requiring medical attention was Ed Jones, and he was treated and released.

102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 race results
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Results Sunday of the 102nd Running of Indianapolis 500-Mile Race presented by PennGrade Motor Oil Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (1) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 200, Running
3. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
4. (32) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 200, Running
5. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running
6. (2) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running
7. (21) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 200, Running
8. (4) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (18) Robert Wickens, Honda, 200, Running
10. (30) Graham Rahal, Honda, 200, Running
11. (27) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (12) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
13. (11) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 200, Running
14. (22) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (23) Stefan Wilson, Honda, 200, Running
16. (31) Jack Harvey, Honda, 200, Running
17. (26) Oriol Servia, Honda, 200, Running
18. (15) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 200, Running
19. (13) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 199, Running
20. (6) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 199, Running
21. (33) Conor Daly, Honda, 199, Running
22. (20) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 198, Running
23. (25) Zach Veach, Honda, 198, Running
24. (28) Jay Howard, Honda, 193, Running
25. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 187, Contact
26. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 154, Contact
27. (8) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 145, Contact
28. (5) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 137, Contact
29. (17) Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, 110, Mechanical
30. (7) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 67, Contact
31. (29) Ed Jones, Honda, 57, Contact
32. (16) Takuma Sato, Honda, 46, Contact
33. (19) James Davison, Chevrolet, 45, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 166.935 mph
Time of Race: 2:59:42.6365
Margin of victory: 3.1589 seconds
Cautions: 7 for 41 laps
Lead changes: 30 among 15 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Carpenter, Ed 1 – 30, Newgarden, Josef 31, Pigot, Spencer 32 – 34, Carpenter, Ed 35 – 50, Claman De Melo, Zachary 51 – 55, Carpenter, Ed 56 – 62, Kanaan, Tony 63 – 64, Carpenter, Ed 65 – 72, Kanaan, Tony 73 – 89, Carpenter, Ed 90 – 91, Power, Will 92 – 94, Servia, Oriol 95, Bourdais, Sebastien 96, Rahal, Graham 97 – 105, Claman De Melo, Zachary 106 – 107, Power, Will 108 – 128, Hunter-Reay, Ryan 129, Bourdais, Sebastien 130 – 132, Newgarden, Josef 133 – 134, Rahal, Graham 135 – 137, Munoz, Carlos 138 – 140, Power, Will 141 – 170, Carpenter, Ed 171 – 172, Rossi, Alexander 173, Pagenaud, Simon 174, Munoz, Carlos 175, Servia, Oriol 176 – 177, Wickens, Robert 178 – 179, Servia, Oriol 180 – 192, Wilson, Stefan 193 – 195, Power, Will 196 – 200

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
Power 243, Rossi 241, Newgarden 233, Dixon 218, Hunter-Reay 186, Rahal 183, Wickens 178, Bourdais 168, Pagenaud 155, James Hinchliffe 144.

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