Long Pond, PA – I wrote earlier this week how we can’t count out Will Power and his Team Penske teammates this weekend at the Pocono Raceway. Yes, Hondas were going to be the ones to beat, after all, they have shown to have the most power on superspeedways.
But, Power was the defending race winner at Pocono and also led 180 laps en route to the win in the last superspeedway race this season back in June at Texas.
So, we could never count them out in Sunday’s ABC Supply 500.
After Honda’s dominated the first 150 laps of today’s race, Penske’s proved their power in the end. They were quiet all afternoon long, letting the Honda cars battle for the top five, while Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Power just bided their time.
Power had that unscheduled stop on Lap 61, but the two lucky cautions helped him get on the lead lap again and stay there.
With 50 to go, they were in great position. In the end, their strategy proved to work.
“What a crazy day for us, said the race winner Power. “I mean, we had a really strong car. The Verizon Chevrolet was getting back to the front, and then suddenly, boom, the wing broke. Lucky I didn’t hit the wall. We went a lap down, and then I was thinking to be smart and anything can happen. You get your lap back and get through the field, and that’s exactly what we did. So very, very good day. Once I got my lap back, I was like, all right, it’s game on. I can definitely get back up there. I was thinking like top 5, but when I was pumping out like 217 laps, I’m like, okay, we’re going to make some serious hay here. The crew guys did a fantastic job in the pits having to do all that and still able to go ahead and win the race.”
Not only did Power win, but Newgarden came home second to give Penske a 1-2 finish. Pagenaud would bring his No. 1 Chevrolet home fourth to give Penske three cars in the top four of the finishing order.
“It was a good day for points,” said Newgarden after his runner-up finish. “Tough when you have an opportunity to potentially win a race at the end of it, but I don’t think we had enough for Will (Power) to be honest with you. I did everything I could to try and get by him. I just felt like he was a touch quicker than us. That was difficult for me to overcome. I’m happy for him. I’m happy for Team Penske. It’s a one-two at the end of the day, so keeping it in the family. When one car wins, we kind of all win. That’s the way we view it. And certainly for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevy, it’s a points extension day, so we can’t be disappointed in it.”
Pagenaud, said his car wasn’t as strong at the beginning, but boy did it ever come to him in the final stages of the race.
“The DXC Technology was a rocket ship at the end,” Pagenaud said. “This is such a long race, and all of the changes to the car seem to come together at the end. It’s a little bit of a shame that we lost the train earlier in the race. I think that was costly for us. I was racing (Scott) Dixon and we lost touch with the pack. It might have been interesting had that not happened. But that’s how it goes sometimes. The championship battle is still very close with just three races to go.”
Helio Castroneves crashed in qualifying on Saturday and started 20th today. But, he’d creep home seventh.
“All things considered, it was a great weekend,” the popular Brazilian said today. “I can’t thank the Hitachi Chevrolet crew enough for all of the hard work after the crash in qualifying. They did an awesome job at getting the car together for the race. We started from the back, so our work was cut out for us. Our progress kind of stalled a little, but then the changes to the car all clicked and we were able to finish seventh. The championship didn’t get jumbled up too much, so we head to Gateway (Motorsports Park) next week for another round.”
It was Penske’s fourth straight win and fifth in the last six races. They’re been stellar over the last seven races though.
Power’s last seven finishes?
3rd, 1st, 5th, 4th, 21st, 2nd, 1st.
5th, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 5th, 4th, 4th.
2nd, 13th, 2nd, 6th, 1st, 1st, 2nd.
9th, 20th, 3rd, 1st, 8th, 7th, 7th.
This is pure domination and one that shows they’re going to be the ones hoisting the Astor Cup in Sonoma. All four drivers are in the top five of the points standings as there’s 42 points separating them.