Will Power fends off Simon Pagenaud for Long Beach IndyCar win
|By Mark Glendenning||Sunday, April 15th 2012, 22:17 GMT|
Will Power took an against-the-odds win in Sunday's IndyCar race in Long Beach.
The Penske racer, who was one of 14 drivers who had a 10-pace grid penalty due to an engine change and started from 12th, got himself into the position to win through some smart strategy from the pitwall, but he had to see off a late charge from Schmidt's Simon Pagenaud.
Power had made his final stop relatively early and had to conserve a lot of fuel to get himself to the finish, but Pagenaud had been on a different strategy and made a late stop from the lead, which cost him track position, but gave him the freedom to run flat-out.
The Frenchman rejoined in fourth with 15 laps remaining, and quickly turned that into third with a neat move around Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing). His next target was Rahal's Takuma Sato, who was on a similar strategy to Power and was also in fuel conservation mode.
Pagenaud reeled the Japanese driver in at a rate of up to 2.0s a lap and passed him inside the final 10 laps, giving himself ample time to close down the 7.0s gap to Power. His efforts were helped when Power was baulked slightly by lapped traffic, but the Australian managed to hold on to win by just 0.8s.
Sato's hopes of a podium were dashed when he was turned around by Andretti's Ryan Hunter-Reay on the final lap. Hunter-Reay was handed a 30s penalty for his part in the incident, promoting his team-mate James Hinchcliffe onto the podium.
Front-row starter Josef Newgarden's race ended at the first corner when he crashed while trying to pass polesitter Dario Franchitti (Ganassi), who himself endured another difficult afternoon. He coasted to a halt with a mechanical problem and was classified 15th.
Results - 85 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevy 2. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt DW12-Honda + 0.8675s 3. James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevy + 13.2719s 4. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevy + 18.1951s 5. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevy + 22.9947s 6. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevy + 42.5631 7. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevy + 1m40.1271s 8. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda + 1 lap 9. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevy + 1 lap 10. Justin Wilson Coyne DW12-Honda + 1 lap 11. James Jakes Coyne DW12-Honda + 1 lap 12. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevy + 1 lap 13. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevy + 1 lap 14. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevy + 2 laps 15. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda + 3 laps 16. Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold DW12-Lotus + 3 laps 17. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Lotus + 3 laps 18. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda + 5 laps 19. Katherine Legge Dragon DW12-Lotus + 5 laps Retirements: Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 74 laps Alex Tagliani BHA DW12-Lotus 46 laps Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 41 laps Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 27 laps Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 23 laps Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevy 22 laps Josef Newgarden Fisher DW12-Honda 0 laps