Will Power led 55 of the 70 laps contested in Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series Detroit Grand Prix from the Raceway at Belle Isle Park en route his 41st career win.
The 41-year-old Australian took his first checkered flag of the 2022 season with a 1.0027s margin on Alexander Rossi, who rallied from a 16-second gap to be right in the tire tracks of Power in the closing laps.
“I just drove it as straight as I could,” Power said, via Peacock. “Never put any slip in it, I was driving it really straight. Really nice on the breaks, on the throttle and I knew that if I could keep a reasonable gap to the end, we’d be okay, but I was bit worried because I saw how badly they died but there’s a lot more rubber at the end.
“Man, stellar job by the team. Very enjoyable race because you had to jump through the field, fight hard, good passing. Stoked to the Verizon 5G Chevy in victory lane, man. It’s just redemption from last year, I was just waiting for something to happen on those last 10 laps, just stay laser focused.”
In the first race of the 2021 Belle Isle doubleheader weekend, Power was in prime position to earn the win and led 37 laps on the day. A late race caution with four laps to go turned into a red flag.
Once the cars were ready to resume racing, he could not drive off pit-road due to an ECU issue which caused a finish outside the top 10. Despite the frustrating loss, Power didn’t have it on his mind, instead put together a superb drive on worn rubber.
“No, not really,” he said. “I was just hitting my marks, I was very focused, very good performance mentally for me. Like I always judge my performances and I really left nothing on the table. I got right in that sweet spot of the zone. That’s why I was able to pump out really quick laps.”
Varying strategies were in action at the start of the race as the ultimate winner of the race elected for two pit stops, while the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda team chose for three stops.
For the final stint, Power had the alternate Firestone red tires fitted as Rossi had the help with the black primary option.
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In the final circuits, Power was trying to manage the lead with two cars that were set to go a lap down right ahead of him. The No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet neared Jack Harvey who fought hard to not let him by, but Santino Ferrucci was far more courteous and backed off for the leader.
A caution-free race helped out Power’s efforts as the two-stop strategy has been used before, but plagued due to mid or late race yellow flags.
Scott Dixon finished third, 0.61212s behind Power, both being on the same race plan. Pole-sitter Josef Newgarden, who ran a longer first stretch before his first pit-stop, earned a fourth place result.
Pato O’Ward was on the heels of Newgarden during the final stint and rounded out the top five finishing positions as his teammate Felix Rosenqvist regrouped for a 10th-place finish after starting at the back from a qualifying penalty. The No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP team chose the three-stop strategy and its Swedish driver made multiple on-track passes.
The points leader coming into the weekend, Marcus Ericsson recorded a seventh place finish. A pair of Hondas finished right behind, as Colton Herta and Simon Pagenaud slotted in eighth and ninth.
Penske is now back in control of the championship standings with Power and his three point lead over Ericsson. This is the second time that the 2014 series champion holds the points lead this season.
All three of Roger Penske’s teams have won at least one race this season, they have also led the points at one point through seven events.
IndyCar closes a 30 race chapter with the island of Belle Isle as downtown Detroit will host their annual race starting in 2023. Which makes Power and Co. the last from the series to celebrate in the Scott Fountain.