Power makes it five-for-five winners in 2015 with win at GP of Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power scored the win in Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Round 5 of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, after dominating the race but also holding on with enough fuel to make the finish.

Power becomes the fifth different winner in as many races this year, and now has his first career win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s his 25th career win and ties him for 15th all-time with Gordon Johncock, and also means he has won a race in nine consecutive years.

He led 65 of the 82 laps en route to beating Graham Rahal by 1.5023 seconds.

“That was hard when (Tim Cindric) told me the number I had to hit, and then that Rahal was closing,” Power said in victory lane to ABC. “It was really hard. I was trying to save in the spots where we wouldn’t lose time and push like hell in the other areas. That’s the most physical race I think I’ve ever done. It never stopped.

“I was so determined to win that I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I didn’t want to get caught out by a yellow and wanted a clean race, and that’s exactly what we got. I’m really happy for the guys on the Verizon car. It’s pretty special to win here.”

After a dynamic first stint, Rahal made it up from 17th place to sixth, and from there got into net second behind Power after the first round of pit stops. He led right at the halfway mark, although it was in the midst of a pit cycle.

The two were close-ish most of the race – separated roughly between 1 and 2.5 seconds for the balance of the race – but Rahal was never close enough to make a move for the lead.

Still, the young American has back-to-back runner-up finishes, and delivered a dynamic result for Honda following a challenging weekend.

Juan Pablo Montoya held off Sebastien Bourdais for the final podium position, with Charlie Kimball finally enjoying a bit of luck this year and posting his second straight fifth place at the GPI after coming fifth a year ago.

There were concerns this race might feature either or both of these two elements: a lot of cautions, and a lot of rain. But fortunately neither materialized, and despite a first lap schmozzle that collected nearly a third of the 25-car field and put the field under yellow, it was the only full course caution of the race.

What followed was more or less a strategy race, with Power, Rahal, Bourdais and Montoya leading one stint and others such as James Hinchcliffe, among others, gambling on there being more yellows.

The lead ebbed and flowed but Power led the majority of the race. Rahal led nine laps and after those 74 laps, the remaining eight were split between Hinchcliffe (four laps), James Jakes (two), Kimball (one) and Scott Dixon (one).

Castroneves finished sixth in his 300th career start, ahead of countryman Tony Kanaan in seventh. Stefano Coletti and Takuma Sato finished a season-best eighth and ninth, with Dixon in 10th.

Beyond the top 10, it was a tough day for the Andretti Autosport contingent. Ryan Hunter-Reay (11th), Carlos Munoz (13th), Marco Andretti (16th) and Justin Wilson (24th) all ended outside the top 10, with Wilson suffering apparent gearbox issues.

Elsewhere JR Hildebrand’s return to IndyCar also ended in disappointment with a right front tire issue dropping him from sixth back to an eventual finish of 21st.

Last year’s race winner, Simon Pagenaud, retired with a mechanical issue – a potential ECU change knocked him out after 57 laps.

Unofficially, Montoya still leads the points heading into the rest of the month, up five over Power and 10 over Castroneves. Dixon and Rahal are tied for fourth, 27 back.

RESULTS

INDIANAPOLIS – Results Saturday of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Verizon IndyCar Series event at the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 82, Running
2. (17) Graham Rahal, Honda, 82, Running
3. (4) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 82, Running
4. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 82, Running
5. (14) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 82, Running
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 82, Running
7. (6) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 82, Running
8. (10) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 82, Running
9. (22) Takuma Sato, Honda, 82, Running
10. (2) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 82, Running
11. (19) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 82, Running
12. (13) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 82, Running
13. (21) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 82, Running
14. (9) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 82, Running
15. (16) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 82, Running
16. (24) Marco Andretti, Honda, 82, Running
17. (8) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 82, Running
18. (20) James Jakes, Honda, 81, Running
19. (23) Carlos Huertas, Honda, 81, Running
20. (12) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 81, Running
21. (15) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 81, Running
22. (25) Francesco Dracone, Honda, 80, Running
23. (11) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 69, Running
24. (18) Justin Wilson, Honda, 68, Mechanical
25. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 57, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 116.842
Time of Race: 01:42:42.0940
Margin of victory: 1.5023
Cautions: 1 for 2 laps
Lead changes: 11 among six drivers
Lap Leaders:
Power 1 – 21
Rahal 22 – 23
Jakes 24 – 25
Hinchcliffe 26
Power 27 – 39
Rahal 40 – 43
Dixon 44
Hinchcliffe 45 – 47
Power 48 – 58
Rahal 59 – 61
Kimball 62
Power 63 – 82
Point Standings: Montoya 171, Power 166, Castroneves 161, Dixon 144, Rahal 144, Kanaan 136, Newgarden 129, Hinchcliffe 129, Bourdais 123, Pagenaud 101.