Friday, January 18, 2019

Power Captures Elusive ‘500’ Triumph


Will Power turned a start from the front row into his first Indianapolis 500 victory to cap off a near-perfect month of May after starting from the pole position and winning on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course two weekends ago.

As one of several such crashes during the 200-lap contest, a spin for Tony Kanaan on Lap 189 created a break in the action that allowed frontrunners worrying about having enough fuel to make it to the end to coast semi-comfortably behind the pace car as the race dwindled down.

Young drivers Stefan Wilson and Jack Harvey surfaced as contenders when green-flag racing returned by Lap 194, but both were forced to duck into the pits for quick splashes of fuel.

Power assumed the lead and maintained a comfortable gap between his No. 12 Verizon-backed car and the similar machine of Ed Carpenter, capturing the win at the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 by 3.1589 seconds over the driver and team owner who started from the pole position.

Having fully come to terms with oval racing, Power became the first Australian to win the Indy 500. The triumph marks his 34th Indy car race win, landing him eighth on the all-time win list in a tie with Al Unser Jr.

Will Power drinks milk to celebrate 2018 Indy 500 victory
Will Power added his name to the list of drivers who have drank the milk at Indianapolis and will soon have his likeliness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy. | Photo: Chris Jones / INDYCAR

Scott Dixon employed an alternate fuel strategy during his trip from ninth on the grid to the final step of the podium. Debuting his PNC Bank livery on the Verizon IndyCar Series’ largest stage, Dixon held off Andretti Autosport pilot Alexander Rossi, whose incredible ability to pass groups of cars around corners on a second line aided him in finishing fourth after starting 32nd.

Though Chevrolet claimed the top two spots with Power and Carpenter, Ryan Hunter-Reay added a third Andretti Honda to the top five as he took the checkered flag 6.7187 seconds in arrears of Power.

Alexander Rossi contends for win at 2018 Indy 500
Alexander Rossi put his comfort with his No. 27 Honda on display multiple times during the 2018 Indy 500, passing handfuls of cars on the outside. | Photo: John Cote / INDYCAR

Simon Pagenaud, Carlos Munoz, Josef Newgarden came home sixth, seventh and eighth ahead of Robert Wickens, the top-finishing rookie. Graham Rahal, the first driver on the results to finish the race more than 10 seconds behind Power, rounded out the top 10.

After they introduced a bout of excitement to the closing laps of the Indy 500, Wilson and Harvey crossed the Yard of Bricks 15th and 16th, respectively. Oriol Servia, having come close to finding success with an alternate fuel strategy of his own, finished 17th behind these two.

Twenty-fourth-place finisher Jay Howard was the last-placed driver who was running at the finish, with every driver behind Charlie Kimball in 18th being at least one lap down.

Seven total cautions included six single-car incidents that interjected periodic breaks — and 41 caution laps — into the race and took Ed Jones, Danica Patrick, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Sage Karam and Kanaan out of contention.

Aided by the double points-paying nature of the “500,” Power has jumped into the points lead entering next weekend’s doubleheader weekend on Detroit’s Belle Isle. Rossi is second, only two points back. Following their strong runs in Indianapolis, Newgarden, Dixon and Hunter-Reay comprise the remainder of the top five in the points standings through six of 17 races.

Five days after the year’s highlight event, practice will begin for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, which will feature two full-length IndyCar races on both Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant leads The Apex as its editor-in-chief. When not bringing his racing journalism vision to life at The Apex, Durant enjoys snowboarding, playing the drums, reading and trudging through an endless queue of podcasts.


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