Will Power survived a wreckfest at Texas Motor Speedway to win the Rainguard Water Sealers 600. Powerr won the incident-filled race on the 1.5-mile oval, taking the checkered flag in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet under caution ahead of second-place Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT Data Honda from Chip Ganassi Racing.
"Over the moon to win here," Power said. "My second home and my wife is from here, so we spend a lot of time down here, so just an amazing feeling."
The race saw 23 lead changes among seven drivers, though Power led a race-high 180 of the 248 laps. He won under the last of nine caution periods after four cars including Takuma Sato and Scott Dixon battling for second place right behind Power were involved in a crash in Turn 1 on Lap 244.
"It's disappointing." said Sato "We had a very good car the second half of the race. It was an unfortunate situation - I had a car in front of me and a car to my right, I got two tires in the grass, bottomed out and there was nowhere for me to go from that. We just ran out of track. All the cars were battling for position and constantly moving. It was an exciting race for sure, and I am disappointed it ended the way it did."
Power's win is the ninth at Texas Motor Speedway for Team Penske and the legendary team's record 191st victory in Indy car history.
"It was a matter of getting to the front," said Power, who started ninth in the 22-car field. "We talked about that in our pre-race strategy meeting, that track position is going to be everything because I know whoever would have the lead and (stay on) the bottom of the track would be very difficult to pass."
Kanaan finished second despite being levied a 20-second stop-and-hold penalty after being involved in the largest incident of the race. On Lap 152, Kanaan, Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin went three wide into Turn 3. The cars of Kanaan and Hinchcliffe touched, ricocheting Hinchcliffe into Aleshin and triggering a mishap involving nine cars. No one was injured.
"It was a tough night, just very intense from the first to the last lap." said Kanaan "I'm going to apologize to (James Hinchcliffe) for what happened - I just got up a little too high. We paid the price for my mistake. We got a penalty, paid the penalty, and we were able to finish second. I'm proud of the team for sticking with me and fighting our way back up front. It was just an intense race. A lot of things happened and you had to avoid a lot of things to finish. I'm not going to lie, I'm glad it's over."
Hinchcliffe's view, "We had a run on (Tony Kanaan) and he had plenty of room on the left, but he just came to the right. If you look at the replay, he comes all the way from the white line to the middle of the racetrack, just pinched me into Mikhail (Aleshin). Either his spotter didn't tell him we were three wide or what, but I couldn't go anywhere, I was sandwiched in the middle. I was not expecting him to do that; Tony has more experience in this kind of pack racing than anybody. I went wheel-to-wheel with him last year for the win and nine times out of 10 would do that all day long, but for whatever reason, he wasn't playing very nice today and wrecked a lot of good equipment. It turned into way more of a pack race than we've had here in a long time, which unfortunately, leads to situations like this. A lot of good cars taken out, but I'm glad everybody's OK. We had such a good car. We had that penalty after I looped it in pit lane, but then we raced our way back to the lead lap; we were side-by-side with Will (Power) and we had the car in the top five. The Arrow Electronics car was just incredible and that last pit stop from the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports guys was just great, it's just a super frustrating way to end a day that was going as well as that in this fashion. I just feel bad for the Arrow Electronics boys because we had two good cars that got taken out today."
The race was red-flagged for 30 minutes while the Holmatro Safety Team and track workers cleaned up debris. When the race was restarted, Kanaan went down two laps after serving the penalty, but clawed his way back onto the lead lap to secure a season-best second-place finish and his fourth podium showing in the past five Texas races.
For the final 90 laps of the race, INDYCAR mandated competition cautions after every 30 green-flag laps so teams could change tires to account for abnormal tire wear on some entries, due in part to the newly repaved track surface.
A statement from INDYCAR, read, in part: "This action has been taken out of an abundance of caution as race conditions presented different conditions than seen in earlier tests."
Dixon retained the Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead despite finishing ninth after being collected by the spinning Sato on Lap 244. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver sits atop the standings after nine of 17 races with 326 points. Simon Pagenaud, who finished third in the race, is second with 313 points, Sato is third at 312, Helio Castroneves fourth with 305 and Power fifth at 286.
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America on June 25. The race airs live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
1. (9) Will Power, Chevrolet, 248, Running
2. (4) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 248, Running
3. (12) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 248, Running
4. (11) Graham Rahal, Honda, 248, Running
5. (20) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 248, Running
6. (15) Marco Andretti, Honda, 248, Running
7. (21) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 247, Running
8. (6) Max Chilton, Honda, 245, Running
9. (2) Scott Dixon, Honda, 243, Contact
10. (8) Takuma Sato, Honda, 243, Contact
11. (14) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 224, Contact
12. (18) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 215, Running
13. (17) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 201, Contact
14. (16) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 151, Contact
15. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 151, Contact
16. (5) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 151, Contact
17. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 151, Contact
18. (22) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 151, Contact
19. (13) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 151, Contact
20. (10) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 90, Contact
21. (1) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 41, Mechanical
22. (3) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 36, Contact
Winner's average speed: 140.491 mph
Time of Race: 2:32:31.0118
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 9 for 66 laps
Lead changes: 23 among 7 drivers
Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Dixon 326, Pagenaud 313, Sato 312, Castroneves 305, Power 286, Rahal 283, Newgarden 277, Kanaan 264, Rossi 254, Hinchcliffe 232.
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