TORONTO – Will Power and Verizon Team Penske made a key strategic call prior to a crash at the Honda Indy Toronto, which positioned them to take the lead and ultimately the win in the 11th race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Power pitted on Lap 57 for his final stop in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and mere moments later, Iowa winner and defending race champion Josef Newgarden crashed out in Turn 5 on Lap 58, in a frustrating moment to end a challenging weekend.
That brought out the race’s fourth full course caution and ultimately hosed erstwhile dominant driver Scott Dixon, who had led 56 laps in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, and six others just behind him who needed to make their final stop.
Once they did, they cycled back to 13th place on back. The other six drivers caught out were Simon Pagenaud, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball, Luca Filippi, Graham Rahal and Alexander Rossi.
“Tim and Will made a great call. We were a lap away,” Dixon’s strategist and Ganassi managing director Mike Hull told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee.
The aforementioned Tim Cindric, Penske Racing president and Power’s strategist said: “We’ve been on the other side of it before! What we saw there was we saw traffic, we cut our losses!”
Power restarted second behind Tony Kanaan before Kanaan pitted on Lap 76 from the lead, and once the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet resumed on course in fourth place, he set sail for the podium runners.
Power led Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe, with the latter in major fuel save mode in search of securing a hometown podium finish.
On a one-lap green flag dash to the flag, Power held them both off following a two-car separate incident with Jack Hawksworth and Juan Pablo Montoya in Turn 5.
Hawksworth later told NBC Sports he’d been hit by Pagenaud, although there was no clear evidence to support that claim.
Dixon, meanwhile, spent the remainder of the race trying to rebound from the stop under yellow and made it back to eighth. He left without commenting after a lost day where he got caught on the wrong side of a yellow flag.
Results are below:
TORONTO – Results Sunday of the Honda Indy Toronto Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.786-mile Exhibition Place circuit, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (4) Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running
2. (2) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 85, Running
3. (6) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 85, Running
4. (12) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 85, Running
5. (20) Takuma Sato, Honda, 85, Running
6. (10) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 85, Running
7. (5) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 85, Running
8. (1) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 85, Running
9. (3) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running
10. (22) Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running
11. (17) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 85, Running
12. (18) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 85, Running
13. (16) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
14. (11) Luca Filippi, Honda, 85, Running
15. (7) Conor Daly, Honda, 85, Running
16. (19) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 85, Running
17. (15) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 85, Running
18. (14) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 85, Running
19. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 85, Running
20. (9) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 84, Running
21. (13) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 80, Contact
22. (8) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 57, Contact
Winners average speed: 88.739
Time of Race: 1:42:38.6925
Margin of victory: 1.5275 seconds
Cautions: 5 cautions for 16 laps
Lead changes: 6 among 6 drivers
Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 432, Power 385, Castroneves 358, Dixon 349, Newgarden 344, Kanaan 339, Rossi 300, Hinchcliffe 299, Kimball 294, Munoz 293.