INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Will Power retook the lead with 34 laps to go and pulled away to win the IndyCar Grand Prix for the second straight year and give Team Penske its 200th series victory.
The Australian won the race for the third time in four years, and it’s the fourth straight year Penske has reached victory lane on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Power did a great job and the strategy was right,” owner Roger Penske said.
Power picked up his 33rd career victory by outdueling New Zealand’s Scott Dixon by 2.2443 seconds. Dixon, of Chip Ganassi Racing, methodically moved his way up in the field after starting 18th.
Rookie Robert Wickens finished third, 8.1621 seconds off the pace, after starting second for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Four straight pole winners have won the race, including Power, who has won all three from the No. 1 starting position.
This one sure wasn’t as easy as some of the others, though.
Wickens led for 20 laps during the midsection of the race before Power caught the Canadian with a push-to-pass move in the straightaway, then beat him to the inside of the first turn.
Power never trailed again though he had to contend with a full-course caution that shrunk his growing lead from more than four seconds to less than one. He barely beat Wickens off pit lane on the final stop of the day and then had to contend with light rain that began with 13 laps to go.
“I was 100 percent the whole time,” Power said.
But the steady veteran didn’t allow any of those potential problems to stop him as Chevy took a 3-2 lead over Honda in the engine manufacturer’s chase. Honda-powered cars took every spot from second through fifth.
A record-tying seven drivers led the race, matching the mark set in the inaugural 2014 race. And there were 214 total passes.
Power is the first three-time winner of the race. Teammate Simon Pagenaud won the other two road-course races at Indy.
Alexander Rossi and France’s Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top five.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves finished sixth in his season debut, 14.3860 seconds behind, after starting 10th.
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