Will Power got the month of May off to the right start by picking up his first win of the season at the Indianapolis GP.
From the start of the race, Power led rookie Robert Wickens and the rest of the field to the green flag while almost everyone behind them were going three, four and maybe even five-wide to the first turn. Bourdais was able to overtake Wickens for second position.
It looked like a clean start for a moment until Takuma Sato got into the grass in Turn 2. Sato got back out on track but forced Helio Castroneves to run into his teammate, Simon Pagenaud and got spun out by Jordan King who had nowhere to go, putting King into the gravel and giving us our first caution. King was unable to recover from his first lap incident.
However, it didn’t end there. Fellow Ed Carpenter Racing driver, Spencer Pigot, was side-by-side with Sato in Turns 5 and 6, Pigot tried to cut the corner to avoid making contact with Sato, but hit the curb and went airborne briefly, putting Sato into the grass and sending Pigot for a spin.
The Lap 5 restart saw Power quickly pull away from the field. Meanwhile behind him, Bourdais and Wickens were once again battling for second spot, side-by-side into Turn 1, Wickens winning out this time.
Josef Newgarden looked to take advantage of the battle to grab third place but Bourdais defended his position well Behind them, Alexander Rossi took fifth position from James Hinchcliffe at Turn 11.
Wickens was closing the gap on Power on Lap 17 when the first round of green flag pit stops begun. Simon Pagenaud was the first driver to make his stop.
Hinchcliffe came in three laps later for his stop just before the two leaders made their stops at the same time the next lap. The #12 Verizon team put black primary tyres on Power while the #6 Lucas Oil team did the opposite and chose red soft tyres for Wickens. Though Wickens had better grip for his tyres, Power had a slightly faster pit stop of a 6.7 compared to Wickens’ 7.5, beating him off the pits.
Pit stops cycled through with Rossi staying out to use his push-to-pass to try and open the gap on Newgarden and beat him off the pits for his scheduled stop.
Rossi came in the pits with Graham Rahal’s Honda machine following him but had to settle to run in sixth when Newgarden passed him after Rossi completed his stop.
Wickens was able to take second spot from Power on Lap 25 which would become the lead when he passed Indy Lights champion and rookie, Kyle Kaiser, who hadn’t stopped yet, on the next lap.
On Lap 28, Rahal recovered from a lowly grid spot as he passed Tony Kanaan for ninth position. Kanaan got knocked out of the top 10 at the same spot next lap after Castroneves used his push-to-pass.
Rahal powered through to overtake Ryan Hunter-Reay for eighth position on Lap 34.
Second round of stops began on Lap 37 as Hunter-Reay was the first to stop with his long time Andretti Autosport teammate, Marco Andretti following pursuit. Rossi, Scott Dixon and Hinchcliffe all came in together to make their second scheduled stops the next lap. Dixon had a faster stop which allowed him to beat Rossi off the pits.
Both Penske drivers, Newgarden and Castroneves completed their stops on Lap 39, while their other teammate, Pagenaud waited until next lap to make his stop.
Stops cycled through and this time, Wickens was on the black tyres while Power was the softer reds which gave Power the advantage this time to close the gap and eventually taking the lead from Wickens on Lap 51.
A second and last full course caution would come out on Lap 55 for Newgarden who spun himself out while attempting to pass Bourdais for third spot, stalling his car.
Pit lane was filled with drivers coming in to make their last pit stop of the day. Wickens came off his pits with a fast stop as did Power, putting both drivers racing side-by-side off pit exit, but Power was able to edge him off to stay as the race leader. Dixon had a good stop to come out in third.
Green flag came back out on Lap 62, as it was a clean restart for everyone.
Dixon, who was struggling to find speed all weekend in the #9 Honda, finally found some and found an opportunity to pass Wickens for second place on the front straightaway, eventually pulling away from him.
All the way back in 11th, there was a big line of cars trying to get around the struggling Hunter-Reay. On Lap 72, Andretti and Newgarden make it three-wide to pass Hunter-Reay for eleventh and twelfth spot. Hunter-Reay continued to fall back when Pigot, Matheus Leist, Kanaan, Max Chilton and Gabby Chaves all passed him, putting Hunter-Reay back in a lowly eighteenth.
Dixon ran behind Power for a while, but after having to save fuel, he couldn’t make a move as Power took the chequered flag and picked up his third IndyCar Grand Prix at Indianapolis win of his career.
Dixon finished second with Wickens rounding off the podium in third. The two Hondas of Bourdais and Rossi finished fourth and fifth. Castroneves made his IndyCar return for the month of May a success in this race of scoring sixth ahead of Hinchcliffe and Pagenaud. Rounding out the top 10 were the Rahal-Letterman drivers of Rahal and Sato.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will soon hit the track again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 15th to prepare for the upcoming Indianapolis 500. This will be held on Memorial weekend, May 27th, with Formula 1’s Monaco GP and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway creating a mega motorsport triple-header.