Will Power dominated the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday. For the second year in a row, he started on the pole, and won the race.
In what was largely an uneventful race, Power led 71 of the 75 laps. The four laps he did not lead came while he was making his pit stops. It was a great day for him in the championship standings, and he has his Penske teammates to thank for that.
Speaking of Team Penske, they had the perfect weekend at Sonoma. They qualified and finished first, second, and third. It was the first 1-2-3 finish for the team since 1994.
The best part was that the one driver they have in the Championship hunt, actually won the race. Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe were second and third, finishing just in front of Dario Franchitti.
Scott Dixon finished in fifth place, meaning that the top five drivers all finished in the exact same order they began the race.
There wasn’t much passing during the race, as it was mostly follow-the-leader. Tony Kanaan had a mechanical problem that took him out of the race on lap 40, and Marco Andretti and JR Hildebrand made slight contact late in the race, but neither of those events resulted in a caution.
The one caution that we did have, came with just ten laps remaining, as Ho-Pin Tung went off course while trying to overtake Alex Tagliani. The restart came with just six laps to go, but no passes were made between the top five cars.
Castroneves and Briscoe keeping Franchitti away from Power was big for him in the Championship, but he also helped himself out in a big way. By grabbing the pole (1) and leading the most laps (2) during the race, Power picked up three valuable bonus points.
Now with just four races remaining in the season, Dario’s lead over Power in the standings has been reduced to just 26 points.
There are two road/street courses (Baltimore and Motegi), and two ovals (Kentucky and Las Vegas) remaining on the schedule. Next weekend’s race in Baltimore is a brand new event, and it will play a huge role in determining the Championship.
Roger Penske has a lot to celebrate this weekend. The 1-2-3 finish on Sunday for his IndyCar program came just hours after his Sprint Cup driver, Brad Keselowski, won at Bristol Motor Speedway.