Power Opens 2014 IndyCar Season By Winning St. Pete
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
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
Sato 1 – 26
Castroneves 27 – 28
Sato 29 – 30
Power 31 – 52
Sato 53 – 57
Power 58 – 76
Power 78 – 110No Comment