Written by Adrian Beecher
Speedway, IN — Will Power repeated as Indy Car Grand Prix champion on Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday after starting on the pole. After passing Robert Wickens on lap 51, a late caution only five laps later would make things interesting in the final 25 laps as Power had to hold off the likes of Wickens and Scott Dixon.
The key to him getting out in front on the final restart with 25 laps to go was winning the battle off of pit road.
“Yeah, that was the key to the win there, I think. I feel like the guys getting out in front of Wickens with that final stop was just like literally a nose ahead, so yeah, I was very happy about that. And then it was obviously about having a good restart and when to fuel save.” said Power.
Power led 56 of the 85 laps, with only seven lead changes in the race. Though, the only other leader that showed a chance of contending for the win was the rookie, Wickens, who led 20 of the laps. However, after losing the battle off of pit road, Wickens would drop to 3rd before the end of the race as Scott Dixon surprised many, coming from 18th to 2nd after struggling most of the weekend.
“But yeah, to qualify 18th, I think that’s probably the worst qualifying I’ve ever had on — going for it with a legit not crashing or spinning off. Definitely a frustrating start, but this morning we found quite a bit, I feel like, in the warmup, and then we kind of compromised between what we had found throughout the weekend.” expressed Dixon post-race.
It marks the 2nd straight 2nd place finish for Dixon. Though for Power, this marks the 3rd time that he has won the Indy Grand Prix, all of which he started on the pole in the race. It also marks the 200th Indy Car win for Team Penske.
“200 wins in IndyCar just shows Roger’s determination and the way his team works and his passion for winning.” said Dixon, “It’s a real pleasure to drive for him. You’re given equipment week in, week out to win, and yeah, I have to say it’s amazing to be a part of that history of Penske Racing because it’s such a deep history.”
More importantly though for Power, he hopes that the win will correlate to more success in the later part of May. He has yet to win the Indy 500, something that he says, he has had his mind on for a while.
“Yeah, I’ve had this a couple times now. This is my third win here, and it always helps you because the team has more confidence. I’m very upbeat and have a lot of confidence, and I’ve had my eye on the 500 anyway since last year. Really, the new car, it’s going to be about sorting it out, and it’s a chance to get ahead of everyone else. Just really got it on my mind. When I have a race on my mind in the past, I usually win it at some point.”