Will Power came from a lap down early on at Pocono Raceway to claim victory at the superspeedway for a second consecutive year, the first driver to take consecutive wins at the track.
The Team Penske driver had been forced to pit out of sequence due to damage on his front wing, before rear wing damage compromised his speed after contact from Charlie Kimball.
However, Power was able to pit during a caution period, caused when JR Hildebrand and James Hinchcliffe collided and crashed at turn one, to replace the broken wing, and back on the lead lap, he was able make the most of a clear track when others pitted to pull a lead.
When he made his penultimate stop, he found himself clear in the lead, and ultimately triumphed despite late attention from team-mate Josef Newgarden, who had a relatively quiet afternoon before coming to the front when it mattered.
Alexander Rossi led a total of forty-four laps on his way to third place, with the Andretti Herta Autosport driver capitalising on Scott Dixon’s strategy, which required the Chip Ganassi Racing driver to conserve fuel in the closing stages, which also dropped him behind Penske’s Simon Pagenaud and team-mate Tony Kanaan into sixth.
The two Ganassi drivers were the early pacesetters, but Dixon and his crew gambled on pushing on at the front of the field early on to avoid the traffic behind, only to be undone by fuel conservation late in the day.
Helio Castroneves claimed seventh for Team Penske despite crashing in qualifying, with the Brazilian finishing ahead of the remarkable Ryan Hunter-Reay, who spent time in hospital on Saturday evening after his own crash.
The Andretti Autosport driver started at the rear of the field but worked his way into the lead battle, becoming one of ten drivers to lead laps, with Hunter-Reay finishing ahead of Graham Rahal and Carlos Muñoz.
Marco Andretti led with under ten laps remaining but was forced into a late splash and dash stop for fuel and missed out on the top ten, while Ed Carpenter finished a quiet twelfth ahead of pole sitter Takuma Sato, who fell down the order early and never really recovered as he struggled with balance issues on his Andretti Autosport machine.
As well as the Hildebrand/Hinchcliffe crash, Sebastian Saavedra was also an early casualty as he hit the wall at turn one on lap 114, while Esteban Gutierrez’s promising superspeedway debut ended with a brush against the wall at turn two that resulted in suspension damage on his Dale Coyne Racing machine on lap twenty-three.
Pocono Raceway Race Result
|1||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||2:43:16.6005s|
|2||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||+0.5268s|
|3||98||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport||+0.7112s|
|4||1||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||+0.8770s|
|5||10||Tony Kanaan||BRZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||+2.9056s|
|6||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||+3.3544s|
|7||3||Helio Castroneves||BRZ||Team Penske||+3.7273s|
|8||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||+4.0833s|
|9||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+4.6884s|
|10||14||Carlos Munoz||COL||AJ Foyt Enterprises||+6.9330s|
|11||27||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Autosport||+9.4607s|
|12||20||Ed Carpenter||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+10.4503s|
|13||26||Takuma Sato||JAP||Andretti Autosport||+11.2388s|
|14||4||Conor Daly||USA||AJ Foyt Enterprises||+19.8050s|
|15||88||Gabby Chaves||USA||Harding Racing||+20.6790s|
|16||83||Charlie Kimball||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||+24.4523s|
|17||19||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing||+25.0689s|
|RET||8||Max Chilton||GBR||Chip Ganassi Racing||Retired|
|RET||21||JR Hildebrand||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||Retired|
|RET||5||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Retired|
|RET||7||Sebastian Saavedra||COL||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Retired|
|RET||18||Esteban Gutierrez||MEX||Dale Coyne Racing||Retired|