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


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.


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.

After New York whirlwind, Josef Newgarden makes special trip to simulator before Detroit


DETROIT – There’s no rest for the weary as an Indy 500 winner, but Josef Newgarden discovered there are plenty of extra laps.

The reigning Indy 500 champion added an extra trip Wednesday night back to Concord, N.C., for one last session on the GM Racing simulator before Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

After a 30-year run on the Belle Isle course, the race has been moved to a nine-turn, 1.7-mile layout downtown, so two extra hours on the simulator were worth it for Newgarden.

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“I really wanted to do it,” he told NBC Sports at a Thursday media luncheon. “If there’s any time that the sim is most useful, it’s in this situation when no one has ever been on a track, and we’re able to simulate it as best as we can. We want to get some seat time.

“It’s extra important coming off the Indy 500 because you’ve been out of rhythm for a road or street course-type environment, so I really wanted some laps. I was really appreciative to Chevy. There was a few guys that just came in and stayed late for me so I could get those laps before coming up here. I don’t know if it’s going to make a difference, but I feel like it’s going to help for me.”

After a whirlwind tour of New York for two days, Newgarden arrived at the simulator (which is at the GM Racing Technical Center adjacent to Hendrick Motorsports) in time for a two hour session that started at 6 p.m. Wednesday. He stayed overnight in Charlotte and then was up for an early commercial flight to Detroit, where he had more media obligations.

Newgarden joked that if he had a jet, he would have made a quick stop in Nashville, Tennessee, but a few more days away from home (where he has yet to return in weeks) is a worthy tradeoff for winning the Greatest Spectacle in Racing – though the nonstop interviews can take a toll.

“It’s the hardest part of the gig for me is all this fanfare and celebration,” Newgarden said. “I love doing it because I’m so passionate about the Indy 500 and that racetrack and what that race represents. I feel honored to be able to speak about it. It’s been really natural and easy for me to enjoy it because I’ve been there for so many years.

“Speaking about this win has been almost the easiest job I’ve ever had for postrace celebrations. But it’s still for me a lot of work. I get worn out pretty easily. I’m very introverted. So to do this for three days straight, it’s been a lot.”

Though he is terrified of heights, touring the top of the Empire State Building for the first time was a major highlight (and produced the tour’s most viral moment).

“I was scared to get to the very top level,” Newgarden said. “That thing was swaying. No one else thought it was swaying. I’m pretty sure it was. I really impressed by the facility. I’d never seen it before. It’s one of those bucket list things. If you go to New York, it’s really special to do that. So to be there with the wreath and the whole setup, it just felt like an honor to be in that moment.”

Now the attention shifts to Detroit and an inaugural circuit that’s expected to be challenging. Along with a Jefferson Avenue straightaway that’s 0.9 miles long, the track has several low-speed corners and a “split” pit lane (teams will stop on both sides of a rectangular area) with a narrow exit that blends just before a 90-degree lefthand turn into Turn 1.

Newgarden thinks the track is most similar to the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville.

“It’s really hard to predict with this stuff until we actually run,” he said. “Maybe we go super smooth and have no issues. Typically when you have a new event, you’re going to have some teething issues. That’s understandable. We’ve always got to massage the event to get it where we want it, but this team has worked pretty hard. They’ve tried to get feedback constantly on what are we doing right, what do we need to look out for. They’ve done a ton of grinding to make sure this surface is in as good of shape as possible.

“There’s been no expense spared, but you can’t foresee everything. I have no idea how it’s going to race. I think typically when you look at a circuit that seems simple on paper, people tend to think it’s not going to be an exciting race, or challenging. I find the opposite always happens when we think that way. Watch it be the most exciting, chaotic, entertaining race.

Newgarden won the last two pole positions at Belle Isle’s 2.35-mile layout and hopes to continue the momentum while avoiding any post-Brickyard letdown.

“I love this is an opportunity for us to get something right quicker than anyone else,” he said. “A new track is always exciting from that standpoint. I feel I’m in a different spot. I’m pretty run down. I’m really trying to refocus and gain some energy back for tomorrow. Which I’ll have time to today, which is great.

“I don’t want that Indy 500 hangover. People always talk about it. They’ve always observed it. That doesn’t mean we have to win this weekend, but I’d like to leave here feeling like we had a really complete event, did a good job and had a solid finish leading into the summer. I want to win everywhere I go, but if we come out of here with a solid result and no mistakes, then probably everyone will be happy with it.”