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Power Finds Way Back To Victory Lane At Belle Isle

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 5 2016
Will Power got back to his winning ways on Sunday. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Will Power got back to his winning ways on Sunday. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Will Power – as least temporarily – climbed back to the top spot in the almighty four-driver Team Penske IndyCar Series organization Sunday when he held off teammate Simon Pagenaud to win the second Dual in Detroit race of the weekend.

bugindycarThe win for Power, the 2014 series champion, was his first of the season and it came by a comfortable .9 seconds over points-leader Pagenaud, who has won three times in 2016.

“Been a long times since the No. 12 has been in Victory Lane,” Power, who had mechanical problems in Saturday’s race at the Belle Isle road circuit, said. “It gives the whole crew some confidence. I think we’ve all kind of been stumbling a little bit. It’s been a tough start to the year. Now we’re there.”

The win came thanks to his nifty on-track, outside pass of Pagenaud for fifth place on a restart lap with 18 laps to go.

“There was a space on the outside and I went for it,” Power said. “If I was going to do it, I had to do it on the outside and cleanly.”

“It was a good fight,” Pagenaud said. “Will really was aggressive but he made a great pass and I really couldn’t do anything. I was really struggling on cold tires.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, finished third.

Fourth was Josef Newgarden of Ed Carpenter Racing while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was fifth.

Pagenaud started from the pole and from there began gapping fellow front-row starter Hunter-Reay and the field.

Pagenaud and his Honda held the lead until he pitted on Lap 24. Assuming the lead was teammate Helio Castroneves. A lap later, Castroneves pitted and back to the lead when Pagenaud.

Thirty laps into the 70-lap event, Pagenaud led, Kanaan was second, Castroneves third, Hunter-Reay fourth and Power fifth.

At the front, however, Pagenaud’s care-free Sunday drive had come to and end as Kanaan cut the gap to a half second and was putting the big pressure on the series points leader.

However, a full course yellow saw Kanaan pit and Castroneves took his turn at pressuring Pagenaud.

On Lap 41, Castroneves slipped past his Penske teammate and into the lead.

On Lap 50, Pagenaud pitted in second place. Castroneves opted to stay out one more lap but before he could pit, a full-course caution was called when Jack Hawksworth stalled. Castroneves would restart 15th.

Up front and as a result of pit sequencing was Sebastien Bourdais, the winner of Saturday’s first Dual. He was followed by Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal and Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi. All, however, were in trouble in terms of making it to the end on fuel.

Bourdais pitted with 11 laps to go.

Rahal took the lead as a result but a lap later, he pitted, handing the lead to Rossi. Rossi pitted with nine to go and that put Power in the lead, Pagenaud second – 1.8 seconds back – and Hunter-Reay third.

Over the final couple laps, Pagenaud began working his push-to-pass button and was able to cut into Power’s lead.

“I tried,” Pagenaud said. “You never give up. The car felt really good, every lap it felt better. I tried to get close to see if I could push him to make a mistake on the last lap. You never know. Sometimes it works but I’m really happy with second today.”

Happy because the finish allowed him to pad his points lead over Dixon.

Power hung on for the 24th victory of his career.

A wreck on the first turn of the first lap took Schmidt Peterson Racing’s James Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton and Takuma Sato of A.J. Foyt Racing and  out of contention. The problem, Hinchcliffe said, was that he was forced into the wall by Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport.

“Carlos was an idiot. He just drives me straight into the wall. It was such an unnecessary, BS accident to happen,” Hinchcliffe, the Indy 500 pole-winner, said. “He got a nice big check at Indy, we’re sending him the bill for that.”

Exiting the race on Lap 35 was Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian driver over-cooked Turn 7 on cold tires and his Penske Chevrolet was put on the hook.

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Results Sunday of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (8) Will Power, Chevrolet, 70, Running
2. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 70, Running
3. (2) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 70, Running
4. (17) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 70, Running
5. (4) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 70, Running
6. (21) Conor Daly, Honda, 70, Running
7. (6) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 70, Running
8. (12) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 70, Running
9. (22) Marco Andretti, Honda, 70, Running
10. (16) Takuma Sato, Honda, 70, Running
11. (7) Graham Rahal, Honda, 70, Running
12. (18) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 70, Running
13. (15) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 70, Running
14. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 70, Running
15. (13) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 70, Running
16. (11) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 70, Running
17. (5) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 70, Running
18. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 67, Running
19. (9) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 48, Mechanical
20. (10) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 33, Contact
21. (14) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 0, Contact
22. (19) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 0, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 96.414
Time of Race: 1:42:22.2672
Margin of victory: 0.9203 of a second
Cautions: 3 for 9 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 6 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Pagenaud 1-40
Castroneves 41-50
Bourdais 51-58
Rahal 59
Rossi 60
Power 61-70

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 357, Dixon 277, Castroneves 271, Newgarden 259, Rossi 242, Munoz 242, Power 240, Kanaan 240, Montoya 233, Kimball 227.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 5 2016
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