POCONO, Pa. — Team Penske driver Will Power claimed his 32nd-career Indy car victory in a frantic and chaotic ABC Supply 500 at Pocono on Sunday, rallying from a broken front wing that left him a lap down to celebrate in victory lane at day’s end.
Power’s unscheduled pit stop came on lap 66, he regained the lead lap with 75 to go and found himself out front of the other lead contenders on lap 177 after a cycle of green-flag pit stops.
When an off-sequence strategy saw Marco Andretti pit from the lead with 10 laps remaining, Power inherited the front position for good, holding off teammate Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi coming to the checkered flag.
The win allowed Power to move into sole possession of ninth on the all-time Verizon IndyCar Series list, breaking a tie with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy. It was also his second in a row at Pocono.
“What a day, what a day… a very dramatic day. I’m exhausted,” was Power’s reaction in victory lane following an eventful day for the Australian. “To come back and win it again in a very different way this year — it was a crazy race, exciting to me — but it feels fantastic to go back-to-back.”
After making contact with Charlie Kimball early in the race, leading to the broken wing assembly, Power knew that he had to be, “very cautious on restarts.”
“[I had to] just pick them off one by one,” Power explained. “I knew that I could come (back) forward.”
Power also finds himself back in the points race as well, staying in points but moving to just 42 behind Newgarden in the race for the Astor Cup.
On the initial start of the race, the entire field spread out as much as seven-wide on the front stretch. Polesitter Takuma Sato was able to hold off the restart master, Tony Kanaan, heading into Turn 1.
Sato would not hold the lead for long, as Kanaan worked his way past Sato for the lead in Turn 3 at the end of lap one. Sato would continue to fall back through the field, being pushed out of the top five by the end of lap five.
Kanaan continued to lead until the end of the 12th circuit, when 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi passed Kanaan for the lead in Turn 3.
The first caution of the race flew on lap 23, after Esteban Gutierrez made heavy contact with the Turn 3 wall.
During the subsequent pit stops, Rossi maintained the lead, while Power moved up into second.
On the lap 28 restart, all the drivers frantically shuffled for position on Pocono’s notoriously wide front stretch. Heading into turn 1, Rossi, Power and Kanaan went three-wide for the lead, with Kanaan exiting the corner at the point. A lap later, Scott Dixon passed Ganassi teammate Kanaan for the top spot.
Dixon peeled off the track on lap 54 to begin the green-flag pit stop cycle, maintaining the lead despite being the first driver to hit the pit lane.
The 59th circuit saw Rossi once again move into the first position, passing Dixon. 10 laps later, Dixon mounted a charge against Rossi to take the lead back as Power’s misfortune dropped him behind the 8-ball and, at that point, apparently out of contention.
Dixon once again started the green-flag pit cycle on lap 82, emerging with a four-second lead over defending series champion Simon Pagenaud. During the cycle, James Hinchcliffe overshot his pit stall, resulting in a monetary fine.