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"From DNS to First"
by Esteban Morales

August 22, 2010

After leaving Infineon Raceway on a stretcher approximately one year ago, Will Power’s future was mired in uncertainty.  It was unclear whether Power, who had been drafted to fill in for Helio Castroneves and had suffered two broken vertebrae during practice, would return to Penske Racing.  Though Power’s future remained uncertain, the Australian driver had shown he was capable of getting the job done by collecting his first win for Penske Racing at the Rexall Edmonton Indy.  Power was ultimately rewarded with a fulltime ride for 2010 and has made the most of the opportunity by leading the points race and collecting his fifth win of the year in dominating style.

Aiming to secure his first series championship, Power collected his eighth pole of the season at Infineon Raceway, while teammate Helio Castroneves qualified second.  Championship rival, Dario Franchitti, started the race from the third position while Alex Tagliani impressed by qualifying fourth.

As the cars lined up for the drop of the green, Dan Wheldon and Bertrand Baguette touched wheels, flipping Wheldon’s car on the front straight.  When the race was restarted on lap 4, Power immediately began to drive away from Castroneves.  Within a few laps, however, the drivers settled into their race pace and the leaders kept Power in sight.  Behind the first three cars, Tagliani’s Dallara began to understeer heavily.  On lap 16, Tagliani dropped from fourth to sixth, giving up positions to Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.  One lap later, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Justin Wilson took sixth from Tagliani.  While losing positions, Tagliani suffered a punctured tire, forcing him to pit and ending his bid for a win.

At the front of the field, Franchitti took second from Castroneves on lap 18 while Power checked out.  A few laps later Scott Dixon, Franchitti’s teammate, moved into fourth and shuffled Ryan Briscoe to fifth as pit stops neared.  Dixon soon set his sight on Castroneves, whose red option tires began to fade.  On lap 24, Dixon took third from Castroneves heading into the seventh turn.   Unfazed by the commotion behind him, Power had a smooth pit stop on lap 28 and held his lead.  Marco Andretti and J.R. Hildebrand, who made early stops, momentarily joined Power at the front before pitting.

Lap 33 saw the second caution of the race because of Milka Duno’s stalled car.  The race was briefly restarted on lap 35 before the track went yellow due to contact between Andretti and Hildebrand in Turn 7.  Power led the field to back to the green flag on lap 41, ahead of Briscoe, Franchitti, Dixon, Castroneves, and Wilson.  Despite Briscoe’s efforts, Power easily drove into the distance with final pit stops just a few laps away.  When Franchitti pitted on lap 54, his Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew gambled, electing to fit Franchitti’s Dallara with black sidewall tires instead of alternate tires, hoping that Power’s tires would deteriorate in the closing laps.  On lap 56, Power made his final stop, taking alternate tires, as Franchitti’s Ganassi Racing team expected.  One lap later, Dixon made his final stop, also taking alternate tires.

As the drivers closed in on the checkered flags, it became clear that Franchitti’s crew made the wrong tire choice.  Power continued to pull away while Dixon took second from Franchitti under heavy braking in Turn 7 on lap 62.  Four laps later, officials waved the yellow flag due to contact involving Bertrand Baguette, Raphael Matos, Takuma Sato, and E.J. Viso.  The green flew one final time with only seven laps remaining.  As the cars climbed the hill toward the second turn, Dixon tucked in behind Power, looking for an opportunity to take the lead.  Dixon pressured Power through the closing laps but ultimately settled for second.  After climbing from his Dallara, Power admitted being surprised with Dixon’s pace but reminded the field that he is “going for it,” hoping to collect his first oval win of the year during the last four rounds of the season.

Results:

  1. Will Power
  2. Scott Dixon
  3. Dario Franchitti
  4. Ryan Briscoe
  5. Helio Castroneves
  6. Justin Wilson
  7. Tony Kanaan
  8. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  9. Graham Rahal
  10. Alex Lloyd
  11. Mario Moraes
  12. Marco Andretti
  13. Simona de Silvestro
  14. Alex Tagliani
  15. Vitor Meira
  16. Danica Patrick
  17. Hideki Mutoh
  18. Takuma Sato
  19. E.J. Viso
  20. Francesco Dracone
  21. Raphael Matos
  22. Milka Duno
  23. Bertrand Baguette
  24. J.R. Hildebrand
  25. Dan Wheldon