Power Wins at Sonoma For Fifth Victory of 2010 Season
August 22, 2010
Sunday's victory increased Power's lead in the overall series championship standings and it highlighted a remarkable comeback for the 29-year-old native of Toowoomba, Australia as it came a year to the day after he suffered serious injuries when he crashed while practicing for the race at Infineon.
"It's unreal," said Power, who kept his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda ahead of Scott Dixon's car to claim the victory by .7432 of a second. "What a perfect weekend, to come back here and win it. A year ago, I was lying in the hospital watching this race. I can't thank Roger Penske and (Penske Racing President) Tim Cindric and the Verizon guys enough for this. They gave me a fantastic opportunity. I'm just so happy to be a part of this team."
Team Penske posted three top-five finishes on the day as both Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves also enjoyed strong results in the 75-lap race around the 12-turn, 2.303-mile road course. Briscoe finished fourth in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, while Castroneves claimed fifth in the No. 3 Team Penske entry.
For Briscoe, it marked his sixth top-five finish of the season and his third consecutive top-five result at Infineon Raceway. He remained in fourth place in the championship standings, now 130 points behind Power.
"Will Power is a machine!" said Briscoe. "Congratulations to him for bringing Team Penske another victory. Our No. 6 car was really good today. We were able to make up a position and we fought hard with the Ganassi cars all day long. I had a great afternoon here at Infineon today - the stands were filled and the fans were great, so thanks to them too. Again, good job to Will."
A winner at Sonoma in 2008 for Team Penske, Castroneves started second and ran behind Power for the early part of the race before dropping a couple of spots after the first round of pit stops. He kept battling to earn his sixth top-five result of the year and his fourth top-five finish in six races at Sonoma. Castroneves remained fifth in the standings following Sunday's result, now 144 points in back of the series leader.
"Awesome day for Team Penske and Will Power is incredible," said Castroneves. "My hat is off to him. He did a great job of managing his tires and staying in front of the Ganassi guys. The No. 3 car was fantastic until the tires started to go away towards the end of the run. My guys gave me great stops and, as usual, it was a solid run for us. Once again, how about that Will Power?"
Power's victory padded his championship lead over Dario Franchitti to 59 points with four races remaining, all on oval tracks. Franchitti finished third on the day.
"We've just got to keep going hard, we can't relax," said Power, who led all but two laps in Sunday's race. "We've got a bit of a buffer now going into those last four ovals, but I'm going to race like I want to win it. I'm going to be like I have been all year - no mistakes, just get everything right."
Power celebrated his victory by toasting the fans with the customary wine goblet in Infineon's Victory Circle and then he received the road course championship trophy from racing legend Mario Andretti.
"It's quite an honor to receive an award from Mario Andretti - one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport," said Power. "I want to win this overall championship. The Verizon team will keep working hard and we're determined to try and get at least one win on an oval this year."
Power will get his next chance in just a few days. The IZOD IndyCar Series season resumes Saturday night with the Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. Live coverage will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Versus.