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Power’s Big Day Was Followed By Sleepless Night

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 29 2018

Will Power, his Team Penske Chevrolet and the Borg-Warner Trophy all took a bow at Indy on Monday. (Photos courtesy of INDYCAR)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power didn’t sleep a wink the night after he won Sunday’s 102nd edition of the Indianapolis 500, and it wasn’t because he had partied-too-hearty.

“Yeah, I didn’t drink anything,” Power said Monday during the annual winner’s post-race presser at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Once I got out of here, went to dinner. Tried to sleep, but I couldn’t sleep. I just thought of the celebration and the feeling of winning this race. Just couldn’t sleep with the adrenaline.”

A native of Toowoomba, Australia, Power became the first Australian winner of the Indianapolis 500 after race-leader Stefan Wilson and runnerup Jack Harvey _ a pair of long shots _ were forced to pit for fuel near the conclusion of Lap 195 of the scheduled 200. Their exits cleared a path for Power on the famed 2.5-mile oval, and he paced Laps 196-200 to finish 3.1589-seconds ahead of pole-sitter Ed Carpenter.

Power, who led four times for 59 laps, delivered team-owner Roger Penske his record-extending 17th Indy 500 victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and 201st overall in open-wheel competition.

All that, and the after-effects of a celebratory scream heard around the world, kept Power tossing and turning all night. Curiously, Power said the one thing he didn’t mentally rewind was his performance in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet.

“Usually you do that when you have a bad day. You replay it, replay it,” said Power, whose win moved him into the Verizon IndyCar Series point-lead after six of 17 events. “This is probably the first time I didn’t even think about the race. Like, normally you do

Will Power posed for the cameras during Monday’s traditional day after Indy press gathering.

something wrong in a race, ‘I could have done that better.’ This was the perfect day. No mistakes from me, no mistakes on pit lane. Just as good as it gets.”

Power’s Memorial Day weekend ended with a financial windfall during Monday night’s annual Victory Celebration downtown. Power was presented a check for $2,525,454 from an overall purse of $13,078,065 during a (predominantly) black-tie event at the JW Marriott.

“Pretty good for an Australian. Well-done,” said 2008 Indy 500 champion Scott Dixon, who was born in Australia but is a citizen of New Zealand and has maintained a running flag-waving rivalry with Power.

Power’s victory haul also included a 2018 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, which he immediately gifted to wife Elizabeth. “That’s her dream car, so I’m not even going to get the keys,” Power joked. “You saw from my emotion after the win how much it meant to me. Like I’ve said, I’ve won so many races (34), so many poles (51) and feel like my career would not be complete without a 500 win, and I finally got it. And that’s why I have a sore throat. I definitely screamed.”

Power qualified 23rd and finished 13th in his first Indy 500 in 2008, driving the No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia Dallara/Honda fielded by KV Racing Technology.

“Coming from Australia I didn’t realize how big it was,” Power said of the event. “I remember my first 500 in 2008 and walking out of Gasoline Alley on race day and just being blown away when you look down each end of the straights and see a sea of

The scoring pylon at Indy Speedway tells the story.

people. It’s grown on me since to the point that I’ve obsessed over it and wondered if I’d ever get the chance to drink the milk, and it happened. It was so cool to do the victory lap and see all those people cheering for me and even seeing some Australian flags out there.

“Believe me, the series is growing. You see more and more fans and more and more passion about INDYCAR. The continuity of drivers and the quality of drivers is amazing. Competing against these guys, they’re the best in the world. You can’t pick a person out of the field that you would say wouldn’t win a race. We all push each other very hard and we’re the most versatile series in the world.

“And the fans. It’s just amazing the passion _ not only the love for people but the hate as well. That’s when you know people are really passionate about who they’re backing is when they scream out, ‘You suck!’ So thank you, fans. Absolutely amazing fans here in Indianapolis.”

Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves gave Power some intramural grief. “The big man, the Australian _ KEVIN!“  Castroneves said. “It’s an inside joke, by the way, when you say ‘Kevin.’ Next time you see Will, call him ‘Kevin.’

“But your celebration, it was just like you. Your face expression was so awkward, you know? I mean, even the milk _ you drenched the (500 Festival) princess in milk without even notice. That was incredible.”

Turning serious, Castroneves acknowledged that Power swept the Month of May by winning the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS road-course from pole and the 500 after starting third. “You not only made me better as a competitor, you set the bar among ourselves,” Castroneves said. “I’m really happy for you. You did your homework.”

Team-owner Penske recalled that he first attended the Indy 500 with his father in 1951. Eighteen years later, Penske filed his first Indy 500 entry for driver Mark Donohue, who finished seventh and won Rookie of the Year honors. In 1972, Donohue recorded the first of the organization’s 17 Indy 500 wins in the No. 66 Sunoco McLaren/Offenhauser.

”I think about how we used to come here with just a station wagon and a car and a two-wheel trailer and think what we have today _ the safety and the competition,” Penske said. “I’ve been here and I’ve seen it. Can’t wait next year to race the Andretti (organization). It’s going to be our 50th year here to start.”

The 2019 Indy 500 also will mark the 50th anniversary of Mario Andretti’s lone victory at IMS in the No. 2 STP Oil Treatment Hawk III/Ford fielded by colorful owner Andy Granatelli. Andretti Autosport, the series team owned by Mario’s son, Michael, will field a driver lineup including Marco Andretti, Michael’s son and Mario’s grandson.

“That’s going to be a real one, Michael,” Penske said. “I hope that we’ll stand up together here and have a real race. I’m putting it down right now. We’re going for No. 18. That’s going to be some fun.”

Pole-sitter Carpenter, a resident of Indianapolis, earned $911,504 for his career-best 500 finish in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. The series’ only owner/driver led a race-high 65 laps, also a best among his 15 career starts.

Third-place finisher Dixon, a four-time series champion, earned $587,129 in the No. 9

Australian driver Will Power finally got his arms around the Borg-Warner Trophy.

PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. It was Dixie’s 11th career top-10 finish in 16 Indy 500 starts.

Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 champ, drove from the 32nd starting spot in the 33-car field to finish fourth in his No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda and earn $454,804.

Rounding out the top-five was 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport in the No. 28 DHL Honda. The 2012 series champion earned $419,804.

Canadian Robert Wickens earned $424,979 for his ninth-place finish in the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, including $50,000 for being named Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Wickens, who led two laps, was the highest-finishing rookie among the four drivers making their first Indy 500 starts.

“This was such a cool experience,” said Wickens, 29. “First time on a superspeedway…first off, all you guys are nuts. Absolutely mental. I started 18th and within the first stint of the race I was behind Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais, and they were like middle of three-wide, banging wheels and I’m like, ‘What is happening in this race right now? We’re not even a quarter of the way into this thing.’ It was an amazing experience. Just to be a part of an Indy 500 has been a childhood dream of mine.

Castroneves saw his bid for a record-tying fourth win end with a backwards spin exiting Turn 4 and near the pit entrance on Lap 146. Castroneves’ No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet was too damaged to continue, and his 27th-place finish paid $205,305. The DNF was only the second in 19 Indy 500 starts for the Brazilian, who competed in this year’s race on-loan from Penske’s first-year Acura Prototype team competing in IMSA’s WeatherTech Sport Car Championship.

The good news is that Castroneves, 43, has been promised a ride with Penske for the 2019 Indy 500. “Yes. I can only thank Roger and (Penske Performance President) Tim Cindric for make that happen and really, really appreciate for another opportunity,” Helio said. “I appreciate another shot. We cannot go out like that with a bad taste in our mouth.”

Penske indicated post-race Sunday Helio would return. “It’s hard to say no to him, isn’t it?” Penske said.

Cindric added, “He’s going to be back. He will be here next year in one of our cars. That guy was sitting here (Sunday morning) before I walked in, sitting in his fire suit next to his engineer ready to go about 6:30 in the morning. He’s been in his yellow suit…I don’t think I’ve seen him out of his yellow suit since we got here this month. He’s ready to go all the time.”

Danica Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, finished 30th and earned $208,305 after crashing out of the race on Lap 68 in her No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing. Patrick’s fourth-place start and finish in the ’05 race in the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/ Honda launched “Danicamania” and her crossover marketing brand.

Patrick, whose third-place finish in the 2009 Indy 500 in the No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola Dallara/Honda remains the highest by a woman competitor, officially has retired from motorsports.

“The last couple of days have been an emotional rollercoaster for sure,” said Patrick, 36. “Last night there was a surprise party for my retirement thrown and there was a photo reel that I just sat there and cried the whole time. I’m feeling pretty excited about the future. But the reason why I have so many amazing things that I’m going to get to do that are also passions of mine are because of what happened here and happened at Indy. Thank you, Hulman-George Family, for keeping this race as special as it is.

“Disappointing finish but something like that is not going to take away from my love of this track, for Indy cars, for racing. I’ll always have fond memories so I’m not going to let that influence my heart. Indy can break your heart because it means so much. But it can also be amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to be on the amazing side a couple of times and have great memories. Good luck to everyone. I’m going to go on vacation.”

The Indianapolis 500 purse consists of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series awards, plus other designated and special awards.

Fans can visit IMS.com/renew to renew tickets for the 103rd Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, May 26, 2019.

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INDYCAR driver James Hinchcliffe and longtime publicist/journalist Michael Knight were honored with traditional Indy 500 awards during ceremonies in the IMS media center this weekend.

Hinchcliffe received the Jigger Award, presented by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, to an Indy 500 competitor who experiences misfortune/bad luck. Hinchcliffe survived near-fatal injuries in a crash during practice after qualifying for the 2015 race. One yea r later, the popular Canadian qualified on-pole at IMS. Hinchcliffe, who drives for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, was bumped out of the field in the final moments of time trials this year.

“This is about winning, this is about losing _ but it’s about heart, isn’t it,” rival team-owner Roger Penske said. “I remember in 1994 we sat on the pole and led most of the race and won with Al Unser Jr. We came back in 1995 with two great drivers (Unser and Emerson Fittipaldi) and guess what, we missed the race. I remember walking down the pit lane with Emerson and Al and there was thousands of people there. And I couldn’t believe it…walked into the garage…but you know, that made me a better person. Made me a better competitor.

“I take my hat off to James Hinchcliffe, who didn’t get back in (the race) in somebody else’s car _ who took it on the chin just like we all have to.”

The award is named for Jigger Sirois, who missed being pole-winner in 1969 when his crew waved-off a qualifying run that would have been the only one completed before rain prevented additional track activity. Under U.S. Auto Club rules then in effect, Sirois would have been on-pole for the race’s 53rd edition. While he never did qualify for the race, Sirois did accept the award on behalf of Hinchcliffe.

Knight was presented the Angelo Angelopolous Award, given since 1963 to the 500-mile race participant who best exemplifies the creed of good sportsmanship. Angelopolous was an Indianapolis News writer who staffed numerous 500s.

Knight  covered the race for the Philadelphia Daily News before launching a 25-year career as a publicist for the Championship Auto Racing Teams and numerous drivers and teams, including the Newman-Haas, Fred Treadway, Robby Gordon and Sam Schmidt teams and drivers Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Arie Luyendyk and Gordon. In recent years, Knight has freelanced for the Arizona Republic. A lifetime member of the 500 Oldtimers, he attended his 40th Indy 500 on Sunday, which he said likely will be his last.

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Dick Jordan, who served the U.S. Auto Club in public/media relations and publicity capacities for almost 50 years, is the 2018 recipient of the Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations.

Considered the highest honor in racing PR, the award is named in memory of Chapman _ the legendary PR executive and innovator who worked with New York Yankees legendary slugger Babe Ruth and was named INDYCAR racing’s “most influential man” of the 1980s. Chapman died in 1996 at age 80.

“Dick has been a friendly and reliably helpful presence at USAC races for almost a half-century,” said Michael Knight, chairman of the selection committee. “Dick knew Mr. Chapman and so he well understands the meaning of this high honor.”

Jordan currently works as USAC’s vice president of communications, a schedule that routinely has him attending more than 100 races a year.

The permanent Jim Chapman Award, on display at the IMS media center, will be relocated to the new ISM Raceway media center in Phoenix in November and be displayed there throughout the 2019 racing season.

The list of Jim Chapman Award honorees _ Michael Knight, 1991; Tom Blattler, 1992; Deke Houlgate and Hank Ives, 1993-94; Kathi Lauterbach, 1995; Marc Spiegel, 1996; Mike Zizzo, 1997; Tamy Valkosky, 1998; Carol Wilkins, 1999; Doug Stokes, 2004; Susan Arnold, 2005; Kevin Kennedy, 2006; Dave Densmore and Bob Carlson, 2007; Judy Stropus, 2008; Jim Hunter, 2010; Bill York, 2011; Judy Kouba Dominick and Nancy Wager, 2012; Anne Fornoro, 2013; Jon Edwards and Elon Werner, 2014; Linda Vaughn (honorary), 2015; David “Foof” Ferroni, 2015; T.E. McHale and Day Layton, 2016; Andy Hall, 2017; Dick Jordan, 2018.

The award was not presented from 2000-2003 and in 2009.

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Results of the 102nd Indianapolis 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any) and prize money earned:

1. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $2,525,454
2. (1) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $911,504
3. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running, $587,129
4. (32) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 200, Running, $454,804
5. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running, $419,804
6. (2) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $419,804 
7. (21) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 200, Running, $254,005
8. (4) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $400,654
9. (18) Robert Wickens-(R), Honda, 200, Running, $424,979
10. (30) Graham Rahal, Honda, 200, Running, $401,229
11. (27) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $225,305
12. (12) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running, $364,129
13. (11) Matheus Leist -(R), Chevrolet, 200, Running, $357,129
14. (22) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $315,305
15. (23) Stefan Wilson, Honda, 200, Running, $212,330
16. (31) Jack Harvey, Honda, 200, Running, $200,305
17. (26) Oriol Servia, Honda, 200, Running, $211,105 
18. (15) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 200, Running, $300,305
19. (13) Zachary Claman De Melo -(R), Honda, 199, Running, $339,354
20. (6) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 199, Running, $346,154
21. (33) Conor Daly, Honda, 199, Running, $200,305
22. (20) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 198, Running, $300,305
23. (25) Zach Veach, Honda, 198, Running, $334,129
24. (28) Jay Howard, Honda, 193, Running, $200,305
25. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 187, Contact, $346,954 
26. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 154, Contact, $203,305   
27. (8) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 145, Contact, $205,305
28. (5) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 137, Contact, $348,829 
29. (17) Kyle Kaiser-(R), Chevrolet, 110, Mechanical, $205,805
30. (7) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 67, Contact, $208,305
31. (29) Ed Jones, Honda, 57, Contact, $338,129    
32. (16) Takuma Sato, Honda, 46, Contact, $300,305 
33. (19) James Davison, Chevrolet, 45, Contact, $200,305

R: Indy 500 rookie  

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 166.935 mph
Time of Race: 2:59:42.6365
Margin of victory: 3.1589-seconds
Cautions: 7 for 41 laps
Lead changes: 30 among 15 drivers

Lap Leaders
Carpenter, Ed 1 – 30
Newgarden, Josef 31
Pigot, Spencer 32 – 34
Carpenter, Ed 35 – 50 
Claman De Melo, Zachary 51 – 55
Carpenter, Ed 56 – 62
Kanaan, Tony 63 – 64
Carpenter, Ed 65 – 72
Kanaan, Tony 73 – 89
Carpenter, Ed 90 – 91
Power, Will 92 – 94
Servia, Oriol 95
Bourdais, Sebastien 96
Rahal, Graham 97 – 105
Claman De Melo, Zachary 106 – 107
Power, Will 108 – 128
Hunter-Reay, Ryan 129
Bourdais, Sebastien 130 – 132
Newgarden, Josef 133 – 134
Rahal, Graham 135 – 137
Munoz, Carlos 138 – 140
Power, Will 141 – 170
Carpenter, Ed 171 – 172
Rossi, Alexander 173
Pagenaud, Simon 174
Munoz, Carlos 175
Servia, Oriol 176 – 177
Wickens, Robert 178 – 179
Servia, Oriol 180 – 192
Wilson, Stefan 193 – 195 
Power, Will 196 – 200

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings : Power 243, Rossi 241, Newgarden 233, Dixon 218, Hunter-Reay 186, Rahal 183, Wickens 178, Bourdais 168, Pagenaud 155, James Hinchcliffe 144.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 29 2018
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