NHRA Brainerd: Billy Torrence, 60, earns 1st career win; Beckman, Kramer, Krawiec also win

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NHRA Media Release

BRAINERD, Minn. – Billy Torrence picked up his first career Top Fuel victory with a win on Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the 17th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Torrence, whose son, Steve, is the points leader in the class, went 3.756 seconds at 329.99 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster to defeat three-time world champion Antron Brown on a holeshot in the final round.

Making his 27th career start, Billy Torrence, who was also the No. 1 qualifier for the first time in his career this weekend, knocked off Terry Totten, Scott Palmer and Mike Salinas to face off with Brown in his first career final round appearance.

“To come out here and be able to win a event, and give back something to those guys who give me a good operation when I come out, that’s just a blessing,” Torrence said. “At this level, there’s pressure on everyone to win. I just wanted to win and Antron is a tremendous racer, and you just have to be on your game. We prepare well and we have a great team put together, and a great car. We have all the right parts and pieces.”

Steve Torrence maintained his points lead in the class despite falling to Brown in a tight semifinal race. Brown, who won the previous race in Seattle, is now a point out of fifth place, beating Luigi Novelli, defending world champion Brittany Force and S. Torrence to reach his 121st career final round and third straight at Brainerd.

In Funny Car, Jack Beckman secured his second victory of the season and 28th of his career in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T with a run of 3.961 at 325.69 against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round. Beckman, who recorded his first career Brainerd victory, also posted wins against Matt Hagan, Shawn Langdon and points leader Courtney Force.

“We have struggled, it’s no secret we haven’t had the car we had early in the season,” said Beckman, who moved to fourth in Funny Car points. “We weren’t exactly stellar Friday and Saturday and we didn’t have lane choice all weekend long. (But) I feel a heck of a lot better today than I did yesterday. To put it back in the winner’s circle again, it just reaffirms we have a contending car. I like the way we picked away at things and we got significantly better every time down the racetrack today.”

Johnson clinched his spot in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship on Sunday, advancing to his second final round of the season with victories over Del Worsham, Tim Wilkerson and J.R. Todd, who also secured his spot in the playoffs.

In Pro Stock, Kramer grabbed his second career victory in his American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro after going 6.652 at 207.56 in the final round to defeat Tanner Gray. Kramer’s first career win came earlier this year in Topeka, while Sunday’s path to the winner’s circle also included round wins against Vincent Nobile, Alex Laughlin and Jason Line. Kramer clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship on Sunday as well.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Kramer, who made his third straight finals appearance this season. “I know how good you have to be to win in this class. You just have to be ready every time you go to the starting line. There’s no free shots. You have to be competitive, and if you’re not competitive on the tree and you’re not competitive on the track, you’re not going to win, you’re going to go home. We just continue to do that and hopefully it works out for us more than it doesn’t.”

Gray, who remained second in points, advanced to his second straight finals at Brainerd with victories over Dave Connolly, Fernando Cuadra and points leader Greg Anderson. Line, Chris McGaha and Drew Skillman all secured their spots in the Countdown to the Championship.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, in an all-Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson final round, defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Krawiec earned his fourth victory of 2018 and 47th of his career with a run of 6.897 at 195.14 to beat teammate Andrew Hines. Krawiec moved within 11 points of Hines for the points lead with his fourth career Brainerd victory, one that also included round wins against Ryan Oehler, Mark Paquette and Hector Arana Jr.

“It’s about building momentum right now,” Krawiec said. “We know where we are and we’re in a great position. I think as long as you have that great drive and have that upbeat spirit, you have everybody all excited and that’s what it’s about right now. I have a good motorcycle under me. I know if it’s not winning, it’s most likely because of me. It’s just great to come out and run well. We had a consistent motorcycle and that’s what you need to win races.”

Hines’ path to his fifth final round this season included wins against Karen Stoffer, Jerry Savoie and Angie Smith. No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith also clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 29-Sept. 3 with the last race of the regular season, the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

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BRAINERD, Minn. — Final finish order (1-16) at the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. The race is the 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Mike Salinas; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. Scott Palmer; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Terry McMillen; 10. Chris Karamesines; 11. Leah Pritchett; 12. Richie Crampton; 13. Terry Totten; 14. Luigi Novelli; 15. Bill Litton; 16. Doug Kalitta.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3. J.R. Todd; 4. Courtney Force; 5. Shawn Langdon; 6. Jonnie Lindberg; 7. Tim Wilkerson; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Bob Tasca III; 10. Matt Hagan; 11. Ron Capps; 12. Bob Bode; 13. Del Worsham; 14. Cruz Pedregon; 15. John Force; 16. Jim Campbell.

PRO STOCK: 1. Deric Kramer; 2. Tanner Gray; 3. Greg Anderson; 4. Jason Line; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Alex Laughlin; 7. Fernando Cuadra; 8. Mark Hogan; 9. Bo Butner; 10. Vincent Nobile; 11. Dave Connolly; 12. Drew Skillman; 13. Alan Prusiensky; 14. Jeg Coughlin; 15. Dave River; 16. Chris McGaha.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Hector Arana Jr; 4. Angie Smith; 5. Jerry Savoie; 6. Angelle Sampey; 7. Matt Smith; 8. Mark Paquette; 9. LE Tonglet; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Hector Arana; 12. Joey Gladstone; 13. Scotty Pollacheck; 14. Karen Stoffer; 15. Jim Underdahl; 16. Ryan Oehler.

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BRAINERD, Minn. — Sunday’s final results from the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. The race is the 17th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: Billy Torrence, 3.756 seconds, 329.99 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.751 seconds, 329.10 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.961, 325.69 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.031, 319.67.

PRO STOCK: Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.652, 207.56 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.897, 195.14 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.903, 193.99.

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BRAINERD, Minn. — Final round-by-round results from the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, the 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Tony Schumacher, 3.792, 328.70 def. Terry McMillen, 3.803, 325.61; Clay Millican, 3.788, 327.27 def. Chris Karamesines, 4.051, 265.69; Antron Brown, 3.803, 326.00 def. Luigi Novelli, 4.460, 187.08; Billy Torrence, 3.900, 312.78 def. Terry Totten, 4.254, 205.69; Steve Torrence, 3.787, 327.35 def. Bill Litton, 4.460, 182.08; Mike Salinas, 3.807, 321.73 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.662, 161.40; Brittany Force, 3.910, 255.97 def. Richie Crampton, 4.178, 260.61; Scott Palmer, 3.837, 325.06 def. Leah Pritchett, 4.068, 276.92;  QUARTERFINALS — B. Torrence, 3.781, 320.74 def. Palmer, 3.798, 324.59; Brown, 3.768, 329.58 def. Force, 3.746, 326.24; Salinas, 3.817, 322.04 def. Millican, 3.813, 327.11; S. Torrence, 3.792, 325.69 def. Schumacher, 3.771, 328.94;  SEMIFINALS — B. Torrence, 3.756, 330.96 def. Salinas, 3.774, 324.59; Brown, 3.733, 323.97 def. S. Torrence, 3.753, 330.88; FINAL — B. Torrence, 3.756, 329.99 def. Brown, 3.751, 329.10.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.990, 321.73 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 6.208, 121.33; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.044, 312.64 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.101, 268.44; Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.206, 235.84 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 5.062, 153.18; Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.070, 316.01 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.382, 202.91; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.988, 320.66 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.691, 204.42; Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.019, 320.20 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.032, 320.58; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.973, 326.00 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 12.344, 54.36; J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.024, 318.02 def. Bob Bode, Charger, 4.552, 189.15; QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 4.022, 318.84 def. Hight, 4.143, 243.28; Johnson Jr., 3.937, 319.60 def. Wilkerson, 4.038, 314.97; Beckman, 3.980, 324.83 def. Langdon, 4.019, 321.42; C. Force, 3.945, 326.48 def. Lindberg, 4.026, 321.12; SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 3.968, 325.14 def. C. Force, 4.040, 320.51; Johnson Jr., 3.950, 323.97 def. Todd, 3.973, 324.05; FINAL — Beckman, 3.961, 325.69 def. Johnson Jr., 4.031, 319.67.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.652, 207.88 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.876, 168.37; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.630, 207.15 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.717, 205.94; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.636, 207.37 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.635, 206.20; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.620, 207.53 def. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.660, 206.80; Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.676, 205.66 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.626, 207.37; Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.835, 201.25 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, Broke; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.627, 206.89 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 7.008, 196.50; Alex Laughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.648, 205.22 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.739, 204.29; QUARTERFINALS — Kramer, 6.641, 207.24 def. Laughlin, 6.637, 206.32; Line, 6.639, 207.15 def. Hogan, 6.879, 193.35; Anderson, 6.631, 207.34 def. Enders, 6.636, 206.73; Gray, 6.753, 178.76 def. Cuadra, Foul – Red Light; SEMIFINALS — Kramer, 6.640, 206.99 def. Line, 6.673, 206.83; Gray, 6.629, 207.02 def. Anderson, 6.643, 207.40; FINAL — Kramer, 6.652, 207.56 def. Gray, Foul – Red Light.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.951, 190.78 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.996, 192.25; Angie Smith, Buell, 6.947, 191.78 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.986, 192.00; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.970, 191.73 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.006, 188.62; Mark Paquette, Buell, 10.401, 79.05 def. Hector Arana, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.916, 193.27 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.017, 189.58; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.910, 194.91 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 7.006, 191.62; Matt Smith, 6.887, 197.08 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.027, 190.32; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.900, 194.72 def. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.197, 190.14; QUARTERFINALS — Hines, 6.935, 193.57 def. Savoie, 6.965, 190.67; Arana Jr, 6.938, 193.77 def. Sampey, 7.012, 191.27; Krawiec, 6.919, 193.63 def. Paquette, 7.090, 184.52; A. Smith, 6.996, 188.10 def. M. Smith, 7.089, 194.52; SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.950, 192.77 def. A. Smith, Foul – Red Light; Krawiec, 6.912, 193.27 def. Arana Jr, 6.950, 193.16; FINAL — Krawiec, 6.897, 195.14 def. Hines, 6.903, 193.99.

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BRAINERD, Minn. — Point standings (top 10) following the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, the 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,332*; 2. Tony Schumacher, 1,145*; 3. Clay Millican, 1,144*; 4. Leah Pritchett, 1,118*; 5. Doug Kalitta, 1,027*; 6. Antron Brown, 1,026*; 7. Terry McMillen, 791; 8. Brittany Force, 787; 9. Scott Palmer, 701; 10. Mike Salinas, 694; 11. Richie Crampton, 692; 12. Blake Alexander, 522.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, 1,372*; 2. Ron Capps, 1,177*; 3. Robert Hight, 1,154*; 4. Jack Beckman, 1,110*; 5. Matt Hagan, 1,102*; 6. (tie) Tommy Johnson Jr., 987*; J.R. Todd, 987*; 8. John Force, 855; 9. Shawn Langdon, 791; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 747; 11. Bob Tasca III, 723; 12. Cruz Pedregon, 672; 13. Jonnie Lindberg, 649.

PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, 1,262*; 2. Tanner Gray, 1,242*; 3. Erica Enders, 1,146*; 4. Vincent Nobile, 1,084*; 5. Jeg Coughlin, 1,055*; 6. Deric Kramer, 1,045*; 7. Jason Line, 986; 8. Chris McGaha, 983; 9. Drew Skillman, 959; 10. Bo Butner, 930; 11. Alex Laughlin, 741.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 784*; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 773*; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 646*; 4. LE Tonglet, 641*; 5. Jerry Savoie, 588*; 6. Matt Smith, 540*; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, 480; 8. Angie Smith, 409; 9. Angelle Sampey, 372; 10. Hector Arana, 353; 11. Jim Underdahl, 343; 12. Steve Johnson, 334; 13. Joey Gladstone, 317; 14. Cory Reed, 310; 15. Ryan Oehler, 300; 16. Karen Stoffer, 277; 17. Mark Paquette, 178.

* Clinched berth in NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship

IndyCar champion Will Power completes ‘Victory Lap’ at ceremony in Indianapolis

Will Power Victory Lap
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment
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INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power went on his “Victory Lap” last week to celebrate his second career championship as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It began with several media interviews in Monterey, California, the day after he won the championship with a third-place finish in the Sept. 11 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

From there, it was off to Los Angeles for more interviews and personal appearances that included a VIP Tour at the Petersen Automotive Museum, several appearances on SiriusXM and lunch at The Ivy, where the Team Penske IndyCar Series driver was treated to Wagyu Beef.

“It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” Power told NBCSports.com.

From L.A. back to Power’s North Carolina home, near Team Penske’s home base of Mooresville, there was one stop left on Sept. 17 — the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, an invitation-only banquet where Power and his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew at Team Penske were honored for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

They didn’t even have to check into a hotel and spend another night on the road. Power and his team left on a Team Penske plane from the Statesville, N.C., airport at 4 p.m. ET Saturday to fly to Indianapolis. On arrival an hour later, a limo bus took the team to IMS.

Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season for the fifth time in his career. Power also made history with his 68th career pole, breaking the all-time mark held by the legendary Mario Andretti.

Power and Scott Dixon also became just two of only five drivers to complete every lap of every race in IndyCar Series history.

“What a year,” Power said as he was awarded his personal Astor Cup trophy (the second in his collection after the 2014 championship. “What a phenomenal year coming off one of my worst seasons personally. We came back with a vengeance.

“I want to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for everything they have done for me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here and have the numbers I have without what Roger has done for me. I’m given a car every week that is capable of winning the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.

“Also, to Greg Penske, you are there every week now at every event and I know we will be in good hands moving forward with the Penske Family.”

There are many on Power’s team and at home, that helped support Power throughout his career. None is bigger than Power’s wife, Liz, who told Power before the season that he would win the championship and break Andretti’s record.

“I must thank my wife. I’m so lucky to have a wife with that crystal ball that can tell me what is going to happen,” Power said. “I can’t think you enough, babe. I love you so much and you have been a big support to me my whole career. We’ve been together 17 years, and I’ve been in the series 17 years. She has been such a huge support to me. The mother of our child and she is a fantastic mother.

“She can’t tell the future. She just had faith in me.”

Liz Power’s premonition came true and that allowed Power and his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet team to celebrate Penske’s 17th IndyCar championship and 42nd title in the racing team’s history.

“The 12 crew this year, I’ve never had such a great group of guys,” Power said. “Trevor Lacasse (chief mechanic) is such a calm guy, but he does such a meticulous job on the preparation of the car. He is very, very good at keeping the whole crew happy. It feels as if there is no pressure on us. That’s a huge part in getting the most out of people. It was our first year together with you as a crew chief. What a great year to start our relationship.

“Dave Faustino (Power’s longtime engineer), we’ve worked together for 15 years. He’s almost like a wife to me, a partner … apart from sleeping together. We have a very good working relationship. Sorry Dave, I’m an awkward person and you are not.

“The things we have been through in our years together, it’s crazy that we continually improve and get better. We are standing on the podium after winning the championship and we are talking about the car, the race, and the tires. We weren’t talking about the championship.

“We never stop. The other boys were laughing at us, but I’m already thinking about next year.

“Ron Ruzewski (Team Penske IndyCar Managing Director and strategist) on the radio, always calm. He has actually made me a calm person. I rarely get upset on the radio anymore.”

Power also recognized the fans who helped boost attendance at many venues on the schedule this season as NBC Sports enjoyed its largest IndyCar audience yet.

“This series is growing,” Power said. “With open wheel racing now so popular because of Formula One, it’s really our time to push and put money behind it and go now and take IndyCar to another level because we have the best racing product in the world.

“I have to thank my teammates and (Team Penske president) Tim Cindric. I can’t tell you how hard we push each other. We are ultracompetitive and love each other and push each other hard, so thank you.”


Power won the championship by 16 points over hard-charging teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second in the standings for the third year in a row.

“Overall, I’m filled with a lot of pride for our team and what we were able to do this year,” Newgarden said in his banquet address. “Any year that you step in the championship, you can easily see the challenges it presents everybody.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for the teams and drivers. To be a part of it, make it through it and for us at Team Penske, to topple it, is a very big deal. We’re all competitive.

“The tough thing about being in a championship fight, especially with teammates is we all want to be the best. That’s how it should be. We are competitive people and want to be the best. But it’s a team sport.

“Will, tremendous season, great, great job. I think the world of everybody on our team. It’s a big group. I’m so happy for all of you on the 12-car crew. There is so much we can take into next year.”

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was unable to attend the banquet because of the Goodwood Festival in England but sent congratulations to Power via a video message.

“I really want to congratulate Will Power,” Dixon said. “You drove a tremendous season this year. Even with some of the lows that you had, some of the mistakes with qualifying, you bounced back tremendously. I know how tough these championships are and to see you do it in the style that you did it in the last race of the season, massive congratulations.”

Power’s championship formula included one victory, nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes. Teammate Josef Newgarden was second in the championship with five wins but only six podiums.

Cindric saluted Power’s season in accepting the championship team owner award.

“Will, you took it to another level this year,” Cindric said. “You are the complete package. You completed every lap, had nine podiums, finished out of the top 10 just four times, broke Mario Andretti’s record, and you did it all without cussing at the officials on national TV.

“One complaint I do has is while most of us think you might be from another planet, you never told us your wife was a fortune teller.”

Cindric also honored the seasons of Penske drivers Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who won three times in his second full season (“You are one of only two full-time IndyCar drivers that has driven for us in the past 23 years that hasn’t won an Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. Your time is coming.”).

Kyle Moyer was named team manager of the year (his fifth time and Penske’s sixth). Pennzoil presented Lacasse with the chief mechanic of the year for the first time, the sixth time for Team Penske. The No. 12 crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the most pit stop performance award points in 2022.

Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team.


Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT IndyCar rookie of the year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.

Christian Lundgaard (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

“It’s been a tough season and looking at how it panned out, we struggled so much at the beginning of the season and how we were able to turn it around means so much to me and the team,” Lundgaard said. “It’s the one thing that you only get one shot at. I’m happy to have it.

“Being the first Dane at the Indy 500 certainly helps. Competing here for me is quite important and also special. To win this award and to be here in future years means so much to me. I have a chance to compete for wins and championships.

“This team gave me this opportunity at this track one year ago. We came back and got redemption. We got our first podium here. This year was 40 years ago that Bobby Rahal won the same award. It’s pretty special to keep it among the team.”

Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist was honored as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb. HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted the team championship.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lundqvist said. “It’s cool to see. We are starting to look to the future, and this might not be doing too bad. It’s been great. As most of you can guess with Henry and Daiva Malukas (team owners), it’s been an incredible journey. So much fun that we’ve had. To be on the grid this year was so much of a struggle for us. I didn’t even know I would be doing this until January.

“To be able to pull out the season that we had, I cannot thank this team enough. We will celebrate this for a long time. I’m so happy and proud about that.”

Outgoing IndyCar Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Geoffrey Billows also was honored as he is leaving that role while battling cancer.

“When I think of Dr. Billows, I think of two words,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “One is selfless and the other is tough. He’s gone through a lot these last couple of years, and he didn’t want anybody to know. He’s an amazing man, and we are very grateful for what you have done.”

Dr. Geoffrey Billows with IndyCar president Jay Frye (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Billows was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by all drivers in the series as well as other IndyCar officials and dignitaries.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Billows said. “This means so much for me to be part of this family for the past 30 years. I’ve been presented with opportunities I never thought I would ever have. I can’t tell you how much I love all of you guys and care for all of you guys.

“Thank you so much. I want to also thank my wife, Tammy, who has been a pillar of strength as I continue on this journey with cancer for the past two years as well. You will still see me as a consultant because I love this too much to quit altogether.”

When the evening concluded, Team Penske boarded a bus to the airport for the short return flight to Statesville. They were home by midnight.

Power’s Victory Lap was complete.

“The best thing about this is I get to sleep in my own bed tonight,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500