Will Power Overcomes Penalty to Win Long Beach Grand Prix

April 15, 2012

Long Beach, CA -- Will Power might have began the Long Beach Grand Prix twelfth, but after completing 85 laps on the legendary street course, he finished first in a time of 1:54:01.6082.  Power has now won two consecutive races.

Power was one of 11 Chevy drivers who were assessed a penalty at the start of the 38th Grand Prix of Long Beach because of unapproved engine changes, but he overcame the deficit by stretching 18.5 gallons of E85 on the last 21 laps of the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit, all the while being chased down by Simon Pagenaud.

"It's a great day for the Verizon Team Penske Chevy," stated Power. "We really didn't think it was possible to win from 12th place here because it was a two-stop race, but once again with (strategist) Tim (Cindric), Dave (Faustino), my engineer, and all the boys we overcame a 10-spot penalty."

The victory was Team Penske's first Indy car win at Long Beach since Helio Castroneves' triumph in 2001.  Power had previously won on the course in 2008 with KV Racing Technology. With the win, Power is currently atop the IndyCar standings.

The hard-charging Pagenaud, who led laps 34-47 and 59-70 before pitting his No. 77 Honda-powered car for the final time on Lap 70 of 85, thrilled fans by nearly overtaking Power in the latter stages of the course.

Pagenaud finished 0.8675 of a second in back of Power, as he closed the gap over the final three laps with lap times 1.5-2 seconds quicker than Power.

"They told me (Pagenaud) was coming and that I had a four-second gap and just needed to save as much (fuel) as I could and then I ran hard at the end, the last lap or two, and it was enough," said Power.

James Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car for Andretti Autosport, had the first podium finish of his IndyCar Series career, landing in third when teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay incurred a 30-second penalty on the final lap for avoidable contact with the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car.

"The Go Daddy car was strong right up to the end," said Hinchcliffe.  "I think my fastest lap was the second-to-last lap of the race. Didn't quite have enough to catch Simon (Pagenaud) and Will (Power), so congrats to them. Hopefully it's not the last time I get a trophy in this series."

Tony Kanaan and JR Hildebrand rounded out the top five, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

When the race had concluded, fans had witnessed nine lead changes among seven drivers, as well as three cautions. The winner's average speed was 88.021.

However, the race was not all smooth sailing, as rookie Josef Newgarden failed to complete a single lap after he appeared to make contact with Dario Franchitti, hitting a tire barrier.

A more serious crash occurred later between Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, as Andretti's car lifted up and collided with a barrier.

Andretti blamed Rahal for the crash, stating, "There's one thing blocking, but there's another thing chopping. That was a chop."

As for the manufacturers, most assumed that Chevy would have the worst day, given the penalties assessed for the engine changes. However,  the most trying day perhaps was had by Lotus, as their drivers endured pit problems, a collision, and in one case, engine trouble.

On lap 74, Simona De Silvestro's engine failed her, leaving her in 20th place overall.

"Really disappointed," said De Silvestro. "It wasn't a fun weekend at all. We had issues in practice and qualifying and only ran six laps total going into the race, so we were excited to be running such a great race. We had good pit stops and only 11 laps to go when we lost the engine, so it's really frustrating."

Here are the final results of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1.  (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
2.  (4) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
3.  (16) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
4.  (19) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
5.  (20) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
6.  (13) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
7.  (11) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
8.  (6) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
9.  (22) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
10.  (3) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
11.  (14) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
12.  (15) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
13.  (18) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
14.  (24) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 83, Running
15.  (1) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 82, Running
16.  (23) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Lotus, 82, Running
17.  (25) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Lotus, 82, Running
18.  (9) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 80, Running
19.  (26) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Lotus, 80, Running
20.  (17) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 74, Mechanical
21.  (10) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Lotus, 46, Mechanical
22.  (7) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 41, Mechanical
23.  (5) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 27, Mechanical
24.  (8) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 23, Contact   
25.  (21) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 22, Contact   
26.  (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 0, Contact

Point Standings: Will Power  127, Helio Castroneves  103, Simon Pagenaud 100, Scott Dixon   96, James Hinchcliffe 95, Ryan Hunter-Reay 81, Ryan Briscoe  72, Graham Rahal  62, Rubens Barrichello 59, JR Hildebrand  57

By Staff of the The Daily Sports Herald and Wire Reports

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