Indy GP: Power scores Team Penske’s 200th Indy car win

Will Power held off Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in a tense battle on the Indianapolis road course to rack up Roger Penske’s 200th win in IndyCar, while Robert Wickens finished third.

Indy GP: Power scores Team Penske’s 200th Indy car win
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Race winner Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet with 200th victory hat
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Start: Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet leads
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Sébastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda
Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Despite going four and five wide into the first corner, the field behaved themselves for about 10 seconds, but Simon Pagenaud, who’d gotten around Jordan King by using a fraction of the pit exit lane (legitimately), was nudged back into the path of the Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet through Turn 2.

The dayglo Penske got punted by the ECR machine, and while Pagenaud got going again, King speared into the sandtrap and needed rescuing.

ECR's other entry also got into a spin, this time at Turn 5/6 after Spencer Pigot got squeezed over the curbs at the chicane, and slid along the wet grass backward. Pigot was issued a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

The yellow allowed Takuma Sato, teammate Graham Rahal and Pagenaud to all pit for a fuel top-up.

The restart saw Power storm away as Wickens’ Schmidt Peterson-Honda and Sebastien Bourdais’ Dale Coyne Racing-Honda dueled over second place. Then Bourdais had to turn his attention to his mirrors as he was under attack from Josef Newgarden’s Penske.

Over the opening dozen laps, Power kept a margin of around one second over Wickens, but the pair of them were now four seconds ahead of Bourdais, who was still trying to stave off the attention of Newgarden and Alexander Rossi.

Dixon, like Marco Andretti, pitted early (on lap 13) to go off strategy and get off his primary tires and onto the alternate compound, and the Penskes of Helio Castroneves and Pagenaud soon followed suit. James Hinchcliffe pitted from sixth on Lap 19.

As Power had caught up with the recovering Pigot, so Wickens closed in on the leading Penske, forcing Power to use his push-to-pass to try and get around the ECR car. Power and Wickens entered the pits on Lap 20, virtually together and left together, but Power on primary tires and Wickens on another set of reds, allowing Bourdais in front for just a lap before he too, pulled in.

Newgarden went a lap longer, leaving Rossi at the top of the leaderboard, while Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay followed Newgarden in. Rossi would stop on Lap 23.

Meanwhile, on the black tires, Power had been unable to hold off Wickens, conceding a spot along the back straight. By lap 26, Wickens held a 2.5sec lead, and Power was having to fight off Bourdais who was also on reds. Newgarden, like Power, was on blacks and a further five seconds down, still trying to hold off Rossi.

Behind them, in sixth, Dixon’s off-strategy run had seen him climb to sixth, ahead of Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay. Rahal passed Tony Kanaan for ninth on Lap 28, and Hunter-Reay for eighth on Lap 34. Hunter-Reay, on blacks, was also easy meat for Castroneves, and he conceded ninth on the pitstraight on Lap 35.

Rossi, Dixon, Hinchcliffe and the second Ganassi car of Ed Jones made their second stops on Lap 36, with Newgarden and Castroneves doing the same two laps later, Pagenaud a lap after that.

Up front, Wickens’ lead over Power had stabilized at around 5sec, as the Canadian started suffering understeer from his reds, while Power was a steady one second ahead of Bourdais.

As their second stops approached, Wickens leant on his push to pass but Power was within 4.5sec when the SPM car stopped, while Bourdais also pulled in on Lap 41. Power, having also blasted his P2P in recent laps, stopped on Lap 42. Now he had the reds, Wickens was on blacks.

The gap was 3.5sec, and Bourdais (on blacks) had fallen 3.5sec behind the #12 Penske. At this point the leader was the off-strategy Rahal, but he handed the lead back to Wickens with a stop on Lap 46, and that lead was down to 1.7sec.

Meanwhile further back, Newgarden on reds was gaining on Bourdais’ primary-tired Coyne for third, while Dixon and Rossi were close to Penske’s championship leader.

Power was onto Wickens’ tail at the end of Lap 48, but the SPM driver responded well, with judicious use of Push to Pass, and with defensive lines into the hard braking zones of Turn 1 and 7.

Finally at the start of Lap 51, Power made a move around the outside at Turn 1, and Wickens – after a reasonable attempt to retaliate – had to give up the lead.

Four laps later, it was another silver Penske, that of Newgarden, trying to make a pass and it was on Bourdais for third place. Newgarden made the move at the Turn 12 chicane but from too far back. He clipped the high curb, spun himself into a stall, and triggered a full-course caution.

Everyone took the opportunity to pit, and while Power emerged ahead of Wickens, the Ganassi #9 crew did a great job to vault Dixon ahead of Bourdais, Rossi, Castroneves, Hinchcliffe, Rahal, Pagenaud and Jones. All were on reds, but all were wondering if they could make it to the end on a tank of fuel.

A sensible and clean restart on Lap 62 left the drivers in the same order, but on Lap 63, Rossi got around Bourdais on the back straight, and at the start of Lap 64, Dixon passed Wickens for second. The other Ganassi had far worse fortune, Jones picking up a puncture and having to pit.

Power had a lead of 1sec over Dixon by Lap 67, when the fight between Wickens and Rossi for third place started getting serious.

Newgarden passed Hunter-Reay and Andretti in one maneuver on Lap 71, as Andretti also took the opportunity to pass his teammate, so Newgarden was into the Top 12.

Up front, Power’s lead over Dixon was still just over 1sec at that stage but as rain started to sprinkle the track over the closing 10 laps, Power edged away a tenth or two each lap and finished 2.5sec clear.

The primary interest in the closing laps was Wickens’ attempt to retain his third place and Rossi and Bourdais’ attempt to separate the remarkable rookie from the second podium of his five-race IndyCar career. In fact, Bourdais got around Rossi for fourth, but Wickens stayed solid to grab third.

Castroneves clocked sixth on his comeback, holding on ahead of Hinchcliffe, while Pagenaud demoted Rahal in the closing stages to take eighth, with the second RLLR car Sato completing the top 10.

As well as clocking Penske’s 200th win, Power scored his third win in four years at the IMS road course, and his 33rd career victory.

IndyCar 2018 Grand Prix of Indianapolis 

1 australia  Will Power  85 1:49'46.1935
2 new_zealand  Scott Dixon  85 2.2443
3 canada  Robert Wickens  85 8.1621
4 france  Sébastien Bourdais  85 8.7293
5 united_states  Alexander Rossi  85 11.7462
6 brazil  Helio Castroneves  85 14.3860
7 canada  James Hinchcliffe  85 15.3368
8 france  Simon Pagenaud  85 17.2354
9 united_states  Graham Rahal  85 18.0987
10 japan  Takuma Sato  85 23.1137
11 united_states  Josef Newgarden  85 24.2632
12 canada  Zachary Claman De Melo 85 30.0421
13 united_states  Marco Andretti  85 37.4374
14 brazil  Tony Kanaan  85 41.3456
15 united_states  Spencer Pigot  85 41.6927
16 united_kingdom  Max Chilton  85 42.8434
17 colombia  Gabby Chaves  85 45.0983
18 united_states  Ryan Hunter-Reay  85 53.1086
19 united_states  Kyle Kaiser  85 58.1755
20 united_states  Charlie Kimball  85 1'11.7538
21 brazil  Matheus Leist  85 1'17.9918
22 united_arab_emirates  Ed Jones  84 1 lap 
23 united_states  Zach Veach  84 1 lap 
24 united_kingdom  Jordan King  83 2 laps 
Indy GP: Dixon leads Power in warm-up

Previous article

Indy GP: Dixon leads Power in warm-up

Next article

Penske’s 200 Indy car wins – Roger Penske picks his favorite races

Penske’s 200 Indy car wins – Roger Penske picks his favorite races
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

Jun 1, 2021