Power Wins From Pole at IMS

Will Power leads rivals on IMS road course
Will Power led 56 out of 85 laps at the 2018 INDYCAR Grand Prix. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

Repeating a feat he’s accomplished twice before, Team Penske driver Will Power finished first on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course after starting from the pole position.

Power survived a first-lap full-course caution that involved two of his teammates and went on to lead comfortably through his first fuel run.

The first round of green-flag pit stops saw Robert Wickens, who started second and never let Power get too far away, begin a strong run on red-sidewalled Firestone alternate tires while Power used a set of primary tires.

Wickens officially took the lead on Lap 27 and built up an advantage of more than five seconds over the Penske driver. However, once the tire strategy reversed and Wickens’ Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda was fitted with primary tires, Power was able to regain the lead on Lap 51.

Robert Wickens races 2018 INDYCAR Grand Prix
After starting second, Robert Wickens served as Will Power’s main challenger during the fifth IndyCar race of 2018. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

On the preferred, softer tire compound, Power sped away from Wickens, but the advantage was lost when the race’s second caution flag flew on Lap 55 after Josef Newgarden spun and stalled his No. 1 Chevrolet.

Pit stops three laps later allowed all the front runners to get on the same tire strategy, with Power emerging just ahead of Wickens. Dixon, who started 18th, exited the pits in the third position.

Intense racing over the final 25 laps saw the advantage shift in Power’s favor. The Australian veteran crossed the finish line with a 2.2443 second advantage over Dixon.

It marked the 33rd victory of Power’s Indy car career and the remarkable 200th for Team Penske. Power continues to rank ninth on the all-time Indy car wins list.

Scott Dixon races from 18th at INDYCAR Grand Prix
Scott Dixon made up more positions than any other driver during the INDYCAR Grand Prix, advancing from 18th on the grid to the second step of the podium. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

Dixon’s second-place finish was his first podium of 2018 and the 97th of his career, placing him fifth on the all-time list. It also adds to his runner-up finish total which, at 39, is third all-time.

Behind Power and Dixon, Wickens narrowly held off a surging Sebastien Bourdais with just 0.6 seconds separating them at the checkered flag. Alexander Rossi completed the top five in his Andretti Autosport Honda, making it four Hondas to one Chevrolet in the top five.

A rough day for Newgarden, whose battle for position with Bourdais led to the aforementioned spin for the reigning champion, relegated him to an 11th-place finish. The result allowed him to keep the points lead, but only just barely. Entering the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 where double points will be on offer, Newgarden sits only two points ahead of Rossi.

After two days with no on-track activity, the drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series will be back on track Tuesday, May 15 when the oval opens for Indianapolis 500 practice. Four days of preparation will lead to qualifying May 19–20, followed by the race itself on Sunday, May 27.

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