Will Power may have found something in the final laps of Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Being chased by Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden in the closing 15 laps, Power dove his No. 12 Chevrolet to the apron off Turn 2, blocking Newgarden’s runs to keep the lead until the end.
Crossing the finish-line 0.526 seconds ahead of Newgarden, the victory was Power’s second straight at Pocono and third of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
“What a crazy day for us. We had a really strong car,” Power said. “Once Josef got to me, the only place he was going to pass was into Turn 3. I was very aggressive of blocking to make sure he didn’t get up the inside.”
Newgarden came up one spot short of claiming three consecutive victories, as Power’s blocks were too savvy for Newgarden to avoid.
“I just didn’t have enough,” Newgarden said. “I tried everything I could. I knew where all the other championship drivers were so finishing second wasn’t bad.”
Alexander Rossi came home third, his second podium finish of 2017 and third of his career. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion led 44 laps on the day.
“A lot went right for us,” Rossi said. “It was our race to control from a fuel standpoint. Andretti was strong all weekend, it backed up how strong we are on superspeedways.”
Teammate Takuma Sato was the race’s first leader, starting from pole in his No. 26 Honda. However, he lost the top spot before the completion of the first lap, later falling to finish 13th.
Despite the overall speed from the Andretti team Sunday, Sato and Rossi were far from the only men out front Sunday, as the race saw a record number of lead changes, 43, with 10 drivers spending time out front.
Ryan Hunter-Reay may have finished eighth, but simply starting the race was in doubt after a qualifying crash on Saturday left the series champion sore and steady during pre-race activities. However, when Hunter-Reay strapped into the No. 28 Honda, he rallied back from starting in the rear to lead 12 laps.
“The fact I was able to race today was unreal,” Hunter-Reay said. “The lead at halfway was nice. It was a challenging day in many ways. I’d like to go horizontal [in bed] pretty quick.”
In obvious discomfort post-race, Hunter-Reay has plenty of healing to do before the series heads next to Gateway Motorsports Park next weekend.
“I feel stiffer now than I was this morning,” he said. “Being in the car in that same position really tightened things up a lot. Gateway feels like two decades from now.”
Another driver with an up-and-down afternoon was James Hinchcliffe, who crashed out of the race with JR Hildebrand on lap 124. Before the Turn 1 accident, Hinchcliffe pulled off a massive save in Turn 1 on lap 103, standing as one of the day’s ‘wow’ moments.
“Fast hands [laughs],” Hinchcliffe said. “I pushed up at at the exit of Turn 1, and then got massively loose. Had two huge tank-slapper moments. I’m not exactly sure how the thing came out straight.”
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) August 20, 2017
— Team Penske (@Team_Penske) August 20, 2017
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