Power holds off Hunter-Reay to win in Sao Paulo
Hunter-Reay was second to give Chevy a 1-2 finish and Takuma Sato brought his Honda home a close third.
Power inherited the point when Dixon pitted under caution on Lap 64, held off Hunter-Reay on the Lap 67 restart, which quickly turned into a Turn 1 parking lot that collected, among others, Dixon. Recognizing possibly his final opportunity to overtake Power, Hunter-Reay moved to the outside in Turn 1 of the Lap 71 green flag.
‘Full credit to the Verizon guys, Chevy and Team Penske,” said Power. “These guys make it possible. We did it; three for three. That was a good race; a great race; another good strategy by the team. The boys did a great stop on the pit stops."
It was the third straight win in Brazil for Will Power who has now won three straight IndyCar races dating back to Barber Motorsports Park. It is also the first time Team Penske has opened an IndyCar season with four-straight wins. Power is the first driver since Scott Dixon in 2007 to win three consecutive races (Watkins Glen, Nashville, Mid-Ohio).
It was the third podium in four races for Hunter-Reay who is off to a great start of the season for Andretti Autosports.
Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti rounded out the top-5.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, winner Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Presented By Nestle): ""Very happy to get that third win here and third in a row. We need to make it four in a row at the most important race next. (The final restart) was the key to winning. Ryan (Hunter-Reay) got a really good jump. I knew I just had to go like you wouldn't believe through the first complex of corners because I knew he could get a run on me. Ryan is one of the hardest guys you will ever race; he never gives up. Full credit to the Verizon guys, Chevy and Team Penske. These guys make it possible. We did it three for three."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Coastal.com Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports): ""It was a long day but the good point was that we were able to get the car right for the race. We had a really strong race car. It was our first time here in Sao Paulo and it took us a little while to understand what was needed but I was really, really happy in the race car. We were making progress until I had to go through the runoff and basically lose a lot of positions. Everything went downhill from there. We got hit. I lost my wing twice. Then in the end, we lost a lap when we were collected in that last wreck. If there is a wreck in front of you in the chicane, there is no way to avoid it. It's a shame and that's why we need to start ahead of the pack."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, finished sixth): "It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, I'd say. We had a decent starting position but the first stint was shocking. We didn't have the right car for the really slick conditions in the beginning and we fell like a stone; we had a bit of a slow first stop and it set us even further back, so we were really struggling. It's a credit to these Go Daddy guys, ya know, we just never give up. As the track dried out the car really came to us and we had the car back that we had yesterday - we set the third quickest lap and the car was hauling. We were able to bring home another top six. It's all perspective. If you had told us before the race started that we were going to finish sixth I would have been pretty disappointed, but if you told me after the first (pit) stop that we were going to finish sixth I probably would have been pretty pleased with that. We'll take the finish and take the points - if we're not thrilled with a sixth-place finish that means we're doing something right."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Itaipava/GEICO/ Mouser Electronics KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "Unfortunately, our strategy didn't work out the way we wanted because of the number of yellow flags. That is racing. If everything had played out the way we envisioned we would have been in the top-five. It's a shame, but it is always fun to race in front of the Brazilian fans. I want to thank them and my sponsors for supporting me. From here we go to Indy, which is the most important race of the season and we looking for a good result in a race I have been close to winning, but never have."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet, finished seventh): "I'm stoked for the guys because I had left something on the table during qualifying this weekend, and I really wanted to get out there and hustle it and pick off some guys and get us up to the front. And through some good strategy calls and a good National Guard Chevy we were able to do that and it was a lot of fun. This track, especially now with the different engine manufacturers - and the car is more sensitive when you take downforce out - lends itself to being able to make some passes out there. You combine that with the difference between the red and black Firestone tires and it made for a really exciting race. It certainly was for us. I know all of us at Panther are happy to come away from here with a solid Top 10 and head into the month of May in the top 10 in the points standings."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, finished third): "It is a fantastic feeling to finish third. It was an eventful race starting from the back of the grid. I needed to fight back so hard to get the positions back. The first part of the race was really hard, not necessarily on the overtaking but to follow the strategy, and at one stage we had a pit speed penalty but we gradually moved up. One-by-one we overtook cars which was very exciting. In the end, the restart got me into a great place; it was very exciting for me. There is always opportunity on a restart but you never know until you hit the brake because there is no plan basically. When Helio and Dario were in front of me, two wide, initially I thought there was no chance but when I saw their braking point was earlier than I expected I saw a little opportunity to dive inside. I was confident that I would make the corner so I was very excited. Finally, after a difficult weekend, it is a relief to get this result and I am really pleased to bring the team a third place and see the first checkered flag of the season. It was a great day."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet, finished second): "The weather had been so up and down, so we didn't know what to expect. (On final restart) I really challenged (Will Power) on the outside. I tried to get him but he had the inside and he raced clean. We've been right there on the podium three of the four races so we're really happy going to Indy."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "I guess that just wasn't our day. The Target car definitely had some speed but we just couldn't put it all together."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Lexar Media Honda): "Our Lexar car was very fast and we were pretty quick out there. We got hit on that restart and spun out but we kept fighting and it was a great job by the Target boys on pit lane. It just didn't work out today. We were up there and didn't get the mileage we needed. We almost got back up to the front but the last two restarts weren't the best for us."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "It was difficult for sure. I think we ran pretty good in practice this morning and we were looking forward to having a good race. The guys on the team have been doing a great job and working really hard. I feel bad for them that we couldn't finish the race. Now we just have to go back and work hard to get everything working right for Indy."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Today was a tough day to swallow. We had a great race going and, then to get spun out, just made it look like a bad day. There is no use being upset with the result. We will just focus on the progress and start getting ready to go win at Indy."
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Lotus): "The Lotus teams were struggling to find speed down the long straightaways here, so we were simply focusing on the areas of the car we can control. We managed to fix a braking issue that's been plaguing us, as well as some other improvements to keep us competitive with the other Lotus teams. We are working well together as a team and really starting to gel. I am very happy to be working with Brandon and the rest of my crew."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/ Embrase - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, finished 10th): "When you are in 16th place and at the end of the race you gain six positions you have to feel better. However, I have to say I did not understand the race. I was running third or fourth and all of a sudden I was 17th. We did have a few problems with the pit stops, but strategy was such a big factor this afternoon. In fact, when I saw Dario (Franchitti) after the race I stop to talk to him and asked him when you should spin so you can come in a take fuel. I just want to thank all the Brazilian fans for coming out to the race. I gave my very best today. Unfortunately, because of all the cautions flags our strategy didn't work out today but it will out some other day."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Logistics Chevrolet, finished fourth): "It was an awesome day in the Penske Logistics car. I received many messages on Twitter yesterday when people saw my frustration after qualifying inspiring me and they were the ones really driving me today. It was a great call today by John Erickson on the pit strategy and the car was good. I didn't know how much damage was done to the front until I got out of the car, but it was a great race and I have to thank all my guys, Ron Ruzewski, John Erickson, and all the guys on my crew."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, finished ninth): "Another top-10 finish is always a good thing especially when I am looking for championship points. It was a bit of a sweet and sour weekend. We were not as fast as we expected in qualifying, however we had a strong race. Unfortunately, there were several strategies used today and ours didn't pay off the way we hoped. We all acknowledge that it was a difficult situation with the weather constantly changing and the number of yellow flags due to accidents. I think we had a car that was good enough to finish in the top-five and want to thank the crew and my engineer for doing a great job."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): "We were there in the end and were coming for Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) and got caught up in wreck and dropped back to 20th and managed to get back up to 14th by the end. We were slow on the straights anyway and that's where I lost all my time. There were guys I couldn't see yet in my mirrors and then they were by me by the end of the straight - there was nothing I could do. If we had finished sixth or seventh it wouldn't have been terrible - another bummer day for the RC Cola boys but we're coming ready for Indy."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Team Ipiranga Chevrolet): "The race result didn't show our potential. We ran in the top 10 and were consistent. Unfortunately, we didn't have the beset speed on the straights and were being beaten by the other guys. But we were good on the corners so I'm happy to accomplish running in the top five. It was a shame being penalized twice and being involved in that last accident because I'm sure we had a great chance to finish in the top 10 with the Ipiranga car."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda, finished eighth): "What an interesting race. No corner went without some sort of contact. The Novo Nordisk team did a fantastic job today. Great pit stops and I'm thrilled to have a career-best finish here in Brazil. On to Indianapolis."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "Overall it was a tough day for the Service Central team. We couldn't catch a break today and things just did not go our way. We had a fast car but I guess it wasn't our day."
ITAIPAVA SAO PAULO INDY 300 PRESENTED BY NESTLE RACE RUNNING:
At 12:15 p.m., the ambient temperature was 69 degrees. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 71 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
12:23 p.m. - Journalist Johnny Saad gave the command "Drivers, please start your engines." All cars are running.
Lap 1: GREEN. #12 Power leads the field into Turn 1. #38 Rahal went from sixth to fourth and #67 Newgarden went from 8th to fifth on opening lap.
Lap 3: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by .9375 of a second.
Lap 5: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by .5606 of a second.
Lap 8: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 1.2749 seconds.
Lap 10: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 1.9526 seconds. #3 Castroneves on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 11: #77 Pagenaud and #15 Sato on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #15 Sato with a drive through penalty for a pit lane speed violation.
Lap 12: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 2.2831 seconds.
Lap 14: #26 Andretti on pit road for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 15: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 2. 5291 seconds. #18 Wilson pits for four red tires and fuel. Wilson stalled on exit.
Lap 17: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 3.0867 seconds. #4 Hildebrand on pit road for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 18: #27, #25 #6 on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #25 Beatriz with a drive through penalty for a pit lane speed violation.
Lap 19: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 3.0671 seconds. 9, 11, 83 on pit lane for four tires and fuel. #18 returns to pit lane.
Lap 20: #19 Jakes and #22 Servia pit for four tires and fuel.
IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #22 Servia with a drive through penalty for a pit lane speed violation.
Lap 21: #10 Franchitti, #38 Rahal, #5 Viso, #8 Barrichello, #7 Bourdais on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 22: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by 18.2322 seconds.
Lap 23: #12 Power and #28 Hunter-Reay on pit road for four tires and fuel. #2 Briscoe makes contact with the wall in Turn 10. FULL COURSE YELLOW. #12 Power maintains the lead under caution followed by #10 Franchitti, #28 Hunter-Reay, #9 Dixon and #14 Conway.
Lap 26: GREEN. #12 Power leads the field into Turn 1. #10 Franchitti spins after contact with #14 Conway in Turn 1. FULL COURSE YELLOW. Leaders under caution are: #12 Power, #28 Hunter-Reay, #9 Dixon, #3 Castroneves, #8 Barrichello.
Lap 27: #67 Newgarden on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 28: #14 Conway, #19 Jakes, #7 Bourdais on pit road for four tires and fuel. Pit Report: #14 Conway also changing nosecone after contact. #10 Franchitti on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 29: GREEN. #12 Power leads the field into Turn 1. Multi-car accident in Turn 3. FULL COURSE YELLOW. Cars involved are: #67 Newgarden #78 De Silvestro and #19 Jakes. Cars of #7 Bourdais. #14 Conway, #83 Kimball were slowed by the track blockage.
Lap 31: #3 Castroneves, #4 Hildebrand, #27 Hinchcliffe, #26 Andretti, #38 Rahal, #77 Pagenaud, #15 Sato, #20 Carpenter, #14 Conway all pit for four tires and fuel. Contact between #14 Conway and #26 Andretti. #26 Andretti must fall behind the #15 Sato because of a pass under yellow.
IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #38 Rahal with a drive through penalty for a pit lane speed violation.
Lap 33: GREEN. #12 Power leads the field into Turn 1.
Lap 35: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by .5730 of a second.
Lap 36: #77 Pagenaud on pit road for new nosecone after damage on course.
Lap 38: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by .9316 of a second.
#12 Power has clinched the two bonus points for leading the most laps in the race.
Lap 40: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by 1.5156 seconds.
Lap 42: #11 Kanaan on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 45: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by 3.0910 seconds.
Lap 46: #9 Dixon pits for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 47: #5 Viso pits for four black tires and fuel.
Lap 48: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by 2.5304 seconds. #8 Barrichello pits for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 49: #22 Servia pits for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 50: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by 2.5487 seconds. #25 Beatriz on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 52: Leaders #12 Power and #28 Hunter-Reay on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #10 Franchitti.
Lap 53: Leader, #10 Franchitti, on pit road for four red tires and fuel. #38 Rahal also on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #3 Castroneves.
Lap 54: #5 Sato, #4 Hildebrand, #20 Carpenter, #14 Conway, #7 Bourdais, #77 Pagenaud pit for four tires and fuel,.
Lap 55: Leader #3 Castroneves on pit lane for four red tires and fuel. New leader is #27 Hinchcliffe.
Lap 56: Leader #27 Hinchcliffe and #11 Kanaan on pit lane for four tires and fuel. New leader is #9 Dixon.
Lap 57: Green flag stops complete: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 2.5386 seconds. #5 Viso on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 60: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 3.1037 seconds.
Lap 63: #67 Newgarden stopped on course in Turn 5. #20 Carpenter also off course in Turn 11. FULL COURSE CAUTION. Leaders under caution are #9 Dixon, #12 Power, #28 Hunter-Reay, #10 Franchitti, #3 Castroneves.
Lap 64: Leader #9 Dixon on pit road for fuel only. New leader is #12 Power.
Lap 67: GREEN. #12 Power leads the field into Turn 1. Behind there is multi-car incident in Turn 1. FULL COURSE YELLOW. Cars involved are: #14 Conway, #26 Andretti, #38 Rahal, #77 Pagenaud, #11 Kanaan,#9 Dixon, #25 Beatriz and #19 Jakes.
IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #25 Beatriz with a drive though penalty for avoidable contact with #20 Carpenter on lap 63.
Lap 71: GREEN. #12 Power leads field into Turn 1.
Lap 72: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by .6922 of a second.
Lap 74: WHITE: #12 Power leads #28 Hunter-Reay by .8420 of a second.
Lap 75: CHECKERED: #12 Power wins the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle by .9045 of a second.
Point Standings: Power 180, Castroneves 135, Hinchcliffe 123, Hunter-Reay 121, Pagenaud 118, Dixon 109, Sato 83, Briscoe 83, Hildebrand 83, Franchitti 82.
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