Power Survives Penalty To Win Long Beach GP

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 15 2012

Will Power clawed his way to victory in Long Beach. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)


Not even being penalized 10 spots on the starting grid could slow street-racing monster Will Power as the Team Penske driver overcame his 12th-place starting position to win Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series race.

The victory was the second of the season and second in a row for Power, who won at the Barber Motorsports Park road course two weeks ago.

It as the third victory in three 2012 races for Penske as Helio Castroneves won the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The victory in the 38th running of the race through the streets of Long Beach moved Power into the series points lead.

Power took the lead for good with 16 laps to go when then-leader Simon Pagenaud, operating on a different pit schedule, had to stop for fuel.

“I thought it would be very tough to win the race,” Power said. “Once again good strategy we ran hard when we had to run hard. The end there we had to save so much fuel to get there, but I’m so happy for the Verizon guys and the Chevy guys. We worked hard we got a penalty and we overcame it. I’ve been trying to win this race for four years and now I’ve done it. That was just one of my best wins, I love it.”

Power’s trip to Victory Lane gave the Chevrolet V-6 Indy car its third win of the season.

Pagenaud, of Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports and in a Honda-powered car, finished second, just a couple car lengths behind Power.

Finishing third was James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosport.

Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology finished fourth and JR Hildebrand of Panther Racing fnished fifth.

“My race was really fun because I pushed the entire race,” Kanaan said. “I qualified the entire race. I passed six or seven guys, a couple of guys crashed, a couple of guys had to pit. It was great. Coming into Long Beach dead last in the championship that had never happened to me. I had to take myself out of that.”

All in the top five finishers except for Pagenaud were in penalized Chevys.

All of the Chevrolet-powered teams – including Penske’s – were penalized 10 starting spots because of illegal engine changes earlier in the week.

As a result, defending series champion Dario Franchitti was moved to the pole for the start of the race.

But he soon began losing positions. First to pass him was Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing. Pagenaud and Scott Dixon, Franchitti’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, also were able to get past.

The Ganassi team’s troubles got worse during a caution which came out just over 20 laps in. During that caution, Dixon’s car lost power and stalled on the track. Just after the restart, Fanchitti ran into Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe and damaged the front wing of his car and had to pit off schedule for a nose cone change. The Target cars would not be a factor again.

Also suffering heartbreak was Takuma Sato and his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team. Sato, who led 16 laps, appeared headed for a third-place finish when he was hit from behind by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport with just a lap to go.

Hunter-Reay was penalized 30 seconds for the “avoidable contact” and was dropped from third to sixth.

“I feel really bad for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) because he drove such a great race,” Hinchcliffe said. “I mean I owe him a lot. I was following through a lot of those passes he was making. He sort of helped me get up to that spot. It sucks to get it at the expense of him. Great day for the crew, it was really the calls. They made great calls all day. Those yellows early sort of threw everybody off. It was just awesome for the GoDaddy crew. The car was great. I think my fastest lap was the second to last lap of the race. We were pushing at the end.”

Results Sunday of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.968 mile Streets of Long Beach, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

2. (4) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

3. (16) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

4. (19) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

5. (20) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

6. (13) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

7. (11) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

8. (6) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running

9. (22) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running

10. (3) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running

11. (14) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running

12. (15) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running

13. (18) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running

14. (24) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 83, Running

15. (1) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 82, Running

16. (23) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Lotus, 82, Running

17. (25) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Lotus, 82, Running

18. (9) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 80, Running

19. (26) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Lotus, 80, Running

20. (17) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 74, Mechanical

21. (10) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Lotus, 46, Mechanical

22. (7) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 41, Mechanical

23. (5) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 27, Mechanical

24. (8) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 23, Contact

25. (21) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 22, Contact

26. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 0, Contact

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 88.021

Time of Race: 01:54:01.6082

Margin of victory: .8675 of a second

Cautions: 3 for 12 laps

Lead changes: 9 among 7 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Franchitti 1 – 4

Wilson 5 – 19

Sato 20 – 27

Hunter-Reay 28

Briscoe 29 – 33

Pagenaud 34 – 47

Sato 48 – 55

Hunter-Reay 56 – 58

Pagenaud 59 – 70

Power 71 – 85

Point Standings: Will Power 127, Helio Castroneves 103, Simon Pagenaud 100, Scott Dixon 96, James Hinchcliffe 95, Ryan Hunter-Reay 81, Ryan Briscoe 72, Graham Rahal 62, Rubens Barrichello 59, JR Hildebrand 57

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 15 2012
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