Power Opens 2014 IndyCar Season By Winning St. Pete

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 30 2014

Will Power won the first IndyCar Series race of 2014. (INDYCAR/LAT USA file photo)


Will Power won the IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday.  It was his 22nd career victory.

“I’m stoked to get the first win for Verizon as a series sponsor,” said Power, who started fourth after earning the pole the previous four years. “That’s how you want to start the season. I worked so hard in the offseason. We came into the season wanting to win a championship for (team owner) Roger (Penske). The field is so tight that I’m just happy we had a good race car.

“That’s how you want to start the season. Last year was horrible, and this year it’s good to get a points lead.”

Power held off 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay to get the victory. The margin of victory was 1.9475 seconds. Hunter-Reay overtook Power’s teammate, Helio Castroneves, in Turn 1 on Lap 88 to finish second.

Castroneves, a three-time winner on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit and the runner-up in 2013, placed third.

“We definitely hung in there,” said Hunter-Reay, who matched his best finish at St. Pete. “Things were a little strange at times, not really sure where we were position-wise. But we kept pushing 110 percent, had a good little fight with Helio, got by him. Will was really good; we were matching each other at the end, lap to lap, so I was pushing as hard as I possibly could. Good points for the No. 28 DHL Honda. We’re happy to start the season out this way, so I’m ready to go to Long Beach.”

Scott Dixon, the reigning series champion, finished fourth in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car and Simon Pagenaud garnered a top five in the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car.

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato, the pole sitter who led the first 26 laps of the 110-lap race, finished one place behind sixth-place Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Power earned the two bonus points for leading the most laps.

“Will is great on this race course, but it’s a credit to the whole team and the guys back at the shop, obviously for Verizon to see us get in the winner’s circle when they come over to the series is just so good for us,” said team-owner Robers Penske, who is Castroneves’ race strategist. “Congratulations to Will and the whole team.”

Results Sunday of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.8-mile St Petersburg Street Circuit, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (4) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

2. (3) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

3. (10) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

4. (5) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

5. (14) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

6. (2) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

7. (1) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

8. (16) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

9. (22) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

10. (9) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

11. (11) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

12. (15) Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

13. (13) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

14. (21) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

15. (18) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

16. (12) Mike Conway, Dallara-Chevy, 110, Running

17. (7) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

18. (17) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

19. (19) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 109, Running

20. (20) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevy, 108, Running

21. (8) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda, 83, Contact

22. (6) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 82, Contact

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 93.572

Time of Race: 02:06:57.6288

Margin of victory: 1.9475

Cautions: 2 for 10 laps

Lead changes: 7 among four drivers

Lap Leaders:

Sato 1 – 26

Castroneves 27 – 28

Sato 29 – 30

Power 31 – 52

Sato 53 – 57

Power 58 – 76

Conway 77

Power 78 – 110

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 30 2014
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