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Power Is Powerful Again; Wins Road America

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 26 2016
Will Power conquered Road America on Sunday to get his second consecutive IndyCar Series victory. (Photos courtesy of INDYCAR)

Will Power conquered Road America on Sunday to get his second consecutive IndyCar Series victory. (Photos courtesy of INDYCAR)

Will Power, whose IndyCar Series season started slowly, is rolling pretty rapidly now. The Team Penske driver won for the second straight victory Sunday when he got the win at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

bugindycarThe victory was No. 27 in Power’s career and it came in front of a packed crowd at an iconic 4-mile long, 14-turn Road America road circuit which was hosting an Indy car race for the first time since 2007.

Power said afterward that it all added up to a special win.

“It’s just a great place,” Power said in Victory Lane. “Just so stoked to win in that way. I was so stoked. I needed that one.”

The victory came by .74 seconds over Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing and allowed him to jump from seventh to third in points – he’s 81 back of teammate Simon Pagenaud.

“Man, I was talking about a championship before the race,” Power said. “There’s seven to go now.
Still in it. Still in it. There could be a 100-point swing in the last race.”

Power, who won the second of two races at Belle Isle in Detroit last time out, started on pole at Road America and was a comfortable leader until the final lap.

On that Lap, Kanaan was able to cut the lead to less than a half second, but could never get to Power’s gear box.

“TK, he had the reds (soft tires) on. He was coming hard,” Power said of Kanaan. “We had our

Will Power is moving up in the standings.

Will Power is moving up in the standings.

work cut out and, man, I just did everything I could to stay ahead.”

Kanaan said that an unusually long caution with less than 10 laps to go may have cost him the race.

“That extra lap of yellow, that didn’t help us,” Kanaan said, “because we had a faster tire. He had three push-to-passes on the last lap and I had one. The extra lap, I don’t know, maybe we both would have run out of push-to-passes, that probably was going to be interesting, but…”

Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing finished third, Ryan Hunter-Reay fourth and Helio Castroneves fifth.

“Good day for us,” Rahal said. “We’re pleased with it. We wanted to win today but it was a good points day overall.

“It was good in all considering,” Andretti Autosport’s Hunter-Reay said, “we really had to fight for it today. The car was not ideal in the beginning of the race, especially on used reds and blacks. Once we got going, in the end the – I think with the rubber down (on the track), everything started to suit us.

“We had a pretty good fight with a few (other cars). There was some pretty dirty racing though by a couple others, but we’ll talk about all of that stuff here after the weekend. Just really great to see the fan turn out today here at Road America – any time you see a bunch of fans starting right away on Friday, you know it’s going to be a good weekend.”

Power emerged from a jumbled start to the race with the lead. From there he maintained comfortable leads, giving up P1 only during pit stops.

On the final pit stops of the day, which came with between 10 and 12 laps to go, Pagenaud stayed out a lap longer than Power in hopes of cutting the gap between them. But even with a quick final stop, Pagenaud came out behind Power.

With 10 laps to go, Conor Daly lost control heading into Turn 1, blew threw the gravel pit and slammed the tire barrier to bring out the first yellow flag of the day.

That set up a restart and gave hope to those who had been chasing Power all afternoon.

On the restart, which came with six laps to go, Power led, Pagenaud was second, Kanaan was third, Rahal fourth and Castroneves fifth. Power got a quick restart, and off he went.

Pagenaud struggled with a failing engine over the final laps and finshed 13th.

“We had a really good race going in this wonderful setting at Road America,” Pagenaud said. “The atmosphere was perfect, the race strategy was perfect. It’s tough when you have an opportunity and you can’t maximize it in the championship. It’s a tough day today, but we’ll bounce back.”

Defending series champion Scott Dixon was running a close second to Power when, on Lap 6, his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet suffered engine failure. Dixon was sitting second to Team Penske’s Pagenaud in points when the weekend began.

“I’m not really sure what happened there,” Dixon said. “We maintained our spot in second and I was happy with the Clorox car at the start. We just started losing power for some reason and had to pull off track. It’s really a shame as we had really good pace in the car and I think would have been in contention for the win. It looked like a great crowd out there today and I was really excited to be back here at Road America, but we didn’t get a chance to finish unfortunately.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Results Sunday of the KOHLER Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series race on the 4.014-mile Road America, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 50, Running
2. (3) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 50, Running
3. (6) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Running
4. (8) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 50, Running
5. (5) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 50, Running
6. (11) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 50, Running
7. (14) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 50, Running
8. (20) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 50, Running
9. (17) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 50, Running
10. (10) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 50, Running
11. (18) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 50, Running
12. (21) Marco Andretti, Honda, 50, Running
13. (4) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 50, Running
14. (22) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 50, Running
15. (16) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 50, Running
16. (13) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 50, Running
17. (15) Takuma Sato, Honda, 50, Running
18. (12) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 49, Running
19. (19) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 49, Running
20. (7) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 48, Running
21. (9) Conor Daly, Honda, 39, Contact
22. (2) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 6, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 121.426 mph
Time of Race: 1:39:10.3044
Margin of victory: 0.7429 of a second
Cautions: 1 for 4 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 3 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Power 1-11
Rahal 12-13
Power 14-37
Pagenaud 38-39
Power 40-50

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 375, Castroneves 301, Power 294, Dixon 285, Newgarden 283, Kanaan 280, Munoz 262, Rahal 261, Montoya 259, Rossi 257.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 26 2016
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