Power holds off Kanaan surge for Road America triumph

Will Power - Credit: Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Will Power led from flag to flag to claim his second consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series victory, with the Australian winning on the championships return to Road America on Sunday.

Power got the jump away at the start ahead of Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, while Simon Pagenaud held onto fourth ahead of Graham Rahal, who along with Ryan Hunter-Reay relegated Helio Castroneves to seventh.

Castroneves quickly got back at Hunter-Reay, but on lap seven, Dixon saw his championship hopes take a hit when the Chip Ganassi Racing driver slowed dramatically from second place and pulled off the circuit into retirement.

Power continued to lead throughout the pit stop cycles, with Kanaan and Rahal twice swapping places in the pits with the former regaining position shortly after both times, with the Brazilian retaining position on track at the final stop.

For a while it looked like it would be a Team Penske 1-2, with Power leading team-mate Pagenaud, with the Frenchman making good overtakes on both Rahal and Kanaan to run second.

However, it was not to be for Pagenaud, who after the sole full course caution of the race, caused when Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly crashed out with suspected suspension damage into the barriers at turn one while running inside the top six, dropped down the order like a stone with a suspected engine issue, ultimately ending the race down in thirteenth.

Kanaan was the man to watch in the closing laps, with the Chip Ganassi Racing driver on the faster red Firestone tyres in the final stint compared to Power, with the gap closing down dramatically over the final few laps, the duo ending 0.7429 seconds apart at the chequered flag.

Rahal drove a lonely final stint but claimed the final podium position for his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, while Hunter-Reay took his Andretti Autosport machine back ahead of Castroneves to take fourth.

Castroneves had to withstand the late pressure from Chip Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball, the two ending just 0.4626 seconds apart, while Juan Pablo Montoya took his own Penske car to seventh ahead of the remarkable Josef Newgarden, who drove his Ed Carpenter Racing car to eighth despite racing mere weeks after fracturing his clavicle in a horror crash at Texas Motor Speedway.

Spencer Pigot followed home his team-mate for his first top ten finish of the season, while completing that top ten was Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz.

Max Chilton was running competitively inside the top ten in the early stages, but a gamble to run long before his second pit stop cost him when he coasted to a halt in the pit entry, meaning his mechanics had to push him up the hill to his pits so he could be refuelled. Ultimately this dropped him two laps down, finishing down in twentieth.

Sebastien Bourdais was also out of contention early, a broken rear wing on his KVSH Racing machine consigning the former race winner at Road America to the pits for repairs, where he lost a lap.

Tony Kanaan - Credit: Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
Tony Kanaan – Credit: Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Road America Race Result

112Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:39:10.3044
210Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing+0.7429
315Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+5.9608
428Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport+9.3597
53Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske+10.5340
683Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing+10.9966
72Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam Penske+12.6191
821Josef NewgardenUSAEd Carpenter Racing+13.8835
920Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing+15.7290
1026Carlos MunozCOLAndretti Autosport+17.1132
1141Jack HawksworthGBRAJ Foyt Enterprises+18.7152
1227Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport+19.9030
1322Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske+21.1530
145James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports+22.1333
1598Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport+22.5908
167Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports+23.5531
1714Takuma SatoJAPAJ Foyt Enterprises+35.3665
1811Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH Racing+1 Lap
1919Gabby ChavesCOLDale Coyne Racing+1 Lap
208Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing+2 Laps
RET18Conor DalyUSADale Coyne RacingRetired
RET9Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi RacingRetired