Power leads Penske charge

Indycar

Will Power led a Penske clean sweep at the Infineon Raceway (Sears Point) road course on Sunday. The IndyCar Series title hopeful qualified on pole and led all the way, save for pitstops, to score his fifth win of the year ahead of team-mates Hélio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. Power’s victory allowed him to close to within 26 points of championship leader Dario Franchitti.

lat_levitt_son811_06078

It was the first top three sweep for Team Penske since 1994 when Al Unser Jr, Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy scored no fewer than four 1-2-3 finishes for Roger Penske’s CART team. Meanwhile Brad Keselowski won again for Penske’s NASCAR team at the half-mile Bristol bullring on Saturday night. Roger himself was on the scoring stand in Tennessee, and after flying west to California did the same at Sears Point.

11BRI2nk4310

‘The Captain’ is one of America’s leading entrepreneurs as well as one of its top team owners, and he was delighted to see his NASCAR and Indycar teams perform so well. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had this kind of run on the Indycar side,” said Roger. “And then for Brad and Kurt [Busch] to run so well and Brad picking up that win it’s an awesome time and a credit to all our people, whether it’s the Indycar or NASCAR side. What a run here, I just can’t believe it. There’s a lot of competition [in IndyCar] and I think we had a good set-up this weekend, just a little bit better than Ganassi.

“But we’ve got a lot of work to do. We want to win this championship. We’ve been ahead and fell behind and now maybe we’re making a surge. But Dario and [Scott] Dixon are outstanding and when you get on the [Sprint] Cup side, man, it’s a whole other story.”

latwebbsears1418

Four races remain in the IndyCar championship – two street or road races and two ovals. Franchitti has 475 points to Power’s 449, while Dario’s Ganassi team-mate Dixon is third and another 49 points behind Power. Franchitti and Dixon qualified fourth and fifth at Sears Point and finished in the same places, unable to offer a challenge to Penske’s cars.

Giorgio Pantano, the 2008 GP2 champion, stepped into the injured Justin Wilson’s Dreyer & Reinbold car and drove an excellent race to finish sixth. Pantano did so without the benefit of testing and was able to shoulder out Sébastien Bourdais in one of Dale Coyne’s cars, but was penalised for diving inside the Frenchman to steal sixth place on a late-race restart. Pantano was unaware of IndyCar’s strict restart rules, which don’t allow such aggressive manoeuvres, and the disappointed Italian then found himself moved back to the tail of the unlapped finishers.

IndyCar races again this weekend at a new street circuit in Baltimore, followed by a visit to Japan Motegi’s road course and two oval races in October at Kentucky and Las Vegas. It will be interesting to see if Power can run down Franchitti to win his first IndyCar title and stop the Scot from taking his third championship in a row.

You may also like