Power wins Sonoma IndyCar race
Marco Andretti and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top-5.
Scott Dixon lost 40 potential championship points on what was set up to be a routine pit stop.
Dixon, who entered the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma 31 points behind the front-running Helio Castroneves, finished 15th after being penalized by INDYCAR Race Control for a pit safety infraction on his final service stop under caution on Lap 64 of 85 when leading the 25-car field. He heads to Baltimore this week 39 points behind Castroneves, who finished seventh.
The drive-through penalty served on the Lap 70 restart, without recourse by the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team, opened the door for Will Power to win for the first time since Brazil on April 29, 2012. Power is the 10th different winner through 15 IZOD IndyCar Series races (the record is 11 in the 2001 and 2000 CART seasons).
Dixon and Power were running 1-2 when they pitted on Lap 64, with Power's pit stall directly in front of Dixon's. As the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car made its break, it clipped the right-rear tire carried by Penske crew member Travis Law, which knocked him into airjack man Justin Bosch. Both were uninjured.
Race Control issued the penalty after multiple video views. Race director Beaux Barfield said Dixon's car crossed over into Power's pit box.
Dixon, obviously, didn't agree.
"It's probably the most blatant thing I've seen in a long time," said Dixon, who started on the front row and was seeking his fourth victory in the past five races. "I had a straight line and he walked into us. Pretty annoyed with that; we had a strong car all day."
Justin Wilson knew coming into Sunday’s Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma that he had a car that could win the race. He nearly proved it, but Will Power narrowly beat Wilson’s No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car across the finish line by 1.1930 seconds following the last of a race-record seven restarts on Lap 82.
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "It is great to be back on the podium again with the Boy Scouts of America car. Everyone at Dale Coyne Racing has worked so hard to get a result. We've had some ups and downs this year, and have run some really good races but end up finishing eighth or tenth. So that was a little frustrating earlier this season, but it is nice to get back up here and turn it around a little bit. I was battling hard at the end, there were some close calls out there. I think everyone seemed to come in here with a little bit of frustration and decided to take it out in this race, so it was busy out there."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "We tried to do everything that we could. I'm happy that Will (Power) got his win. He was really aggressive and pushing as hard as he could. He deserved it. I'm happy for him and happy to extend the points lead. I can't believe it. With all that happened to us in the race, I'm extremely satisfied for the Hitachi Team Penske boys. Four more to go. Let's keep going."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "It looks like he (Verizon Team Penske crew member Travis Law) walked straight into our car. You could see where the other car in front of us was pitted and he walked into us, on purpose. That's probably the most blatant thing I've seen in a long time. If you watch most pit guys, they try and get out of the way of other people. It's pretty annoying because we had a pretty good Target car all day long and if they want to try and win like that, then that's pretty bad. I had a straight line heading out of the pits and he just walked right into us. You also look at the calls people make and what they did in Race Control so I look forward to hearing what that was all about. The consistency here is horrible."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): "I really had to work hard today. The left-rear of the car was damaged early in the race and made it almost impossible to turn right. But, given how tough this whole weekend has been I am just happy to have brought the car home in one piece. We fought hard, had to recover from a drive through penalty and still managed to work our way back into the top-10. Unfortunately, in the end we just didn't have enough to maintain that position."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It was frustrating for us today. It looked like we were going to be a pretty good shape early in the race. I got shuffled to back after a restart and we had to go with the black tires. They just weren't as good. Then later in the race I got caught up in someone's accident. I had nowhere to go. We seemed like we had good pace at some parts of the race. But we really struggled on the black tires today in the Fuzzy's Vodka Chevy. We kept staying out with all of the yellows and I was getting good restarts today. So we stayed in the mix pretty well in the early portion of the race. It then got to a point where I was on old tires and other guys were on fresh ones. On the one restart, I lost a ton of ground with the old tires. So we had to pit again and that kind of ended our day. Now we'll just pack up and travel across country to Baltimore for next weekend."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "It was an eventful day. It was awesome racing with everybody. Lots of restarts and a lot of banging and passing. Our HP car was pretty good. We've been struggling with speed all weekend, so when you can finish fifth on a struggling weekend is awesome. Very good for the championship. This is good momentum for the rest of the season."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "Overall, it was a just a tough day for the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car. The Novo Nordisk crew did a great job both in pit lane and in recovering from the incident at the beginning of the race. We fought our way through and gained a lap-back on a road course, so that's pretty impressive. The car was that quick and we were able to make some passes. We felt strong on both primary and alternate tires, so we feel pretty good about the car, especially on a road course package. We're looking forward to Baltimore and we'll move forward from here."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Honda): "The race was going really well, the car felt pretty solid to be honest. I was just going through the motions and trying to save the car, save the tires and unfortunately we got to that restart and we were the only ones on (Firestone) blacks and got up in there with Marco (Andretti) and (Simon) Pagenaud and the next thing I knew I was sideways. I'm not really sure what happened but at the end of the day whatever happened in the incident bent something so the rest of the race was a bit of a struggle. It wasn't perfect but we got through it."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "We lost the engine unfortunately. It was tough because we had it going on. We had settled in and just started to pick people off and they just kept coming to us. We decided to run the blacks (Firestone's primary tires) early because we wanted to get them on and out of the way and we did that. We had a heck of a restart on our second to last restart. It's just a shame the engine let go but you can't fault Honda for that, they have pushed hard all year and have given us a good engine. The difference in tire compounds is unbelievable. Anyone on blacks, you've just got to try and hold on because the guys on reds have such an advantage. The three years I have been in IndyCar I have not seen a start like this to a race. It's great for the fans though. Always in the past here, you had to be aggressive to get up front and with the tire difference here this year that wasn't the case but nobody really knew so everyone was going crazy at the start. It was good to watch, it was good to be involved in it but unfortunately the engine let go and ended our day early but hopefully we will move on to Baltimore where we have run well before."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): ""I'm pretty happy with P9," De Silvestro said. "Our race was chaos out there. We had really good restarts every time except one and I was always able to move up the field. Then we got hit by Sebastian (Bourdais), which I think was pretty dumb because there was plenty of space to get by. That put us back in the back and then we had to fight our way through the field again. The guys did an awesome job in the pits and strategy-wise I think we made some pretty good calls. I'm really happy. I think we were the highest-finishing car that started in the back and it was pretty good to show that kind of pace and recover from where we started."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): ""Crazy Race. We had a disastrous first stint. The original start was alright but on the restart we got shuffled back, and I accidently hit the pit lane speed limiter coming off of (Turn) 7 and was losing all sorts of spots - on top of that the car was tough to drive. So we went off strategy there and the yellows fell just right; it looked like it was going to come into our hands a bit and on that last stint we were on reds when a bunch of guys were on blacks. Unfortunately those cautions at the end when everybody had to come in and top off gave some guys fresher tires, we had the oldest tires of the groups and each of those restarts we just feel back a couple spots. It's too bad because we recovered great, the GoDaddy guys called an awesome race as always and to rebound into the top five from where we were in the first stint is testament to what these guys do every week. Pretty interesting driving out there, but that's what you get in a competitive series. We'll take the finish and move on to the next one."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): "Well, it was such an up and down race - we pretty much had everything possible happen to us. We were very, very fast and we were able to make it towards the front every time we came from the back; it happened that way three times. We had a couple of penalties that I don't really think were too fair. The first one, I was trying to pass (Justin) Wilson, and I already had half a car in front of him and he pretty much ran into me. If he had just left me a little bit of space, nothing would have happened. They gave me that drive-thru penalty which pretty much is where the nightmare started. Once you're in the back part of the pack, it's when all the bad things begin to happen. I'm grateful to the team; I was very happy with the car. I think we were able to do big improvements - we were not that happy with the car during the first part of the weekend, but I think the speed that we had in the race was better."
LUCAS LUHR (No. 97 RW Motorsports/SFHR Honda): "Well first of all I have to say it was a shame that we couldn't finish it because I think we had maybe a top-14 or 15 finish in it. Towards the end of the race, I was getting quicker and I just had a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. I think we've been more competitive in the race that we have all weekend long, and that to me shows that the learning curve is going in the right direction. It's a shame for the guys and RW and SFHR that we couldn't finish the race, but that's racing."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "We've just had a lot of bad luck lately it seems like. It's almost like we have a dark cloud following us around. I think we had a good car and really had a good shot at a good points day. I think the car was great on reds, and really fast, pretty manageable and easy to drive for the most part so I was really proud of that. I think the guys were ready to rock. I think we would have been fast in the pits but today was just one of those tougher days for luck so hopefully we can regroup and get rid of that bad luck for Baltimore and have a good weekend there."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): "It was just a messy day out there. There were a lot of yellows and the Barracuda Racing car was one of them when we got turned around early in the race. We ended up staying on the lead lap but went all the way to the back of the pack. With that many yellows, it ends up being kind of a lottery where you actually end up on restarts because the risk reward factor is quite high. We got a couple of really good restarts where we picked up some spots, and then a couple that were lousy where we lost a few spots. At the end, we were the only car on blacks so that hurt us, and I got run into a couple of times, which bent the car out of whack. I thought we had a good day going at about the mid-point of the race. We certainly had the top 10 in sight, so it's frustrating to come home where we did, but it's been a really enjoyable weekend working with the Barracuda Racing crew and I'm looking forward to Fontana."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Angie's List Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "What a crazy day. I can't tell you how many times I got hit on restarts. It was fun though. We had a lot of issues throughout the race so finishing 12th wasn't bad considering how many points during the race it looked like we were in big trouble. We had a bit of a fuel pick-up issue so we couldn't pit early for the last stop. When I stayed out for a long time on the Firestone red tires on the next to last stint I ended up losing a ton of positions as they wore off. That probably cost us a pretty easy top-10 finish. It's a bit of a shame on that but overall it was a good day and I'm very happy to have a solid finish for the Angie's List car. We'll be back next weekend in Baltimore ready to attack again and build on what we started today."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "As far as the car was concerned today, it was just very quick. Not exactly the result we were looking for as a team, but what can you do. Definitely not a good day for Scott either, but it wasn't for a lack of trying."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "We are really disappointed with that finish. We were doing a great job even though we faced a penalty early in the race and started in the back. We had a great strategy which let us pass a lot of cars. On the last restart Davison took us out the race and it's just a shame. We really wanted to bring that #6 TRUECar racing car up to a finish in the front. I want to thank all of the TRUECar, McAfee guys, everyone who was present to support us here in Sonoma. This team really showed how fast we can be and all of the hard work the team continues to do is paying off, I just wish we could have shown this in our result today."
Point Standings: Castroneves 479, Dixon 440, Hunter-Reay 417, Andretti 409, Pagenaud 380, Franchitti 379, Wilson 361, Power 356, Hinchcliffe 350, Kimball 335
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