Will Power turned in a dominant race on Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile and it may just propel him to the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. An aggressive fuel strategy and a fast Team Penske car allowed Power to expand his points lead to 39 points over Helio Castroneves with only two races remaining following the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest.
Power started from the pole and never really looked back throughout the 250 lap race. The win is the third of the 2014 season and the 24th of his career.
"I love winning on ovals," Power proclaimed over his in-car radio after taking the checkered flag.
Power used to be known for only his road course and street course prowess but has become a very talented oval racer as well.
By lap 80 Power held the lead over Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Helio Castroneves. Ryan Hunter-Reay, the winner the past two years at Milwaukee, took fifth place by lap 95 after starting in 19th of the 22 car field.
Green flag pit stops began after lap 105 and on lap 113 Kanaan pitted from second. Power stayed out and pitted on lap 121 and when he came back on the track Kanaan had assumed the lead with extra laps on fresh tires. At the halfway lap of 125 Kanaan led with Power second, Briscoe third, Scott Dixon fourth, and Montoya fifth.
The caution would fly on lap 131 when Carlos Munoz had an issue which ended the race for his Andretti Autosport car. He finished 22nd.
Ryan Hunter-Reay experienced an issue on lap 168 and slowed on track. He retired his Andretti Autosport car from the race and finished 21st.
On lap 183 Newgarden pitted and Andretti pitted on lap 186. Power pitted on lap 188 from the lead. Kanaan then pitted from the lead on lap 191 and Montoya did the same on lap 192. That cycled Power back into the lead on lap 193. Newgarden was second with Montoya third and Kanaan fourth.
Power got into heavy lap traffic on lap 200 and Newgarden along with Montoya and Kanaan closed in on him. Montoya passed Newgarden for second on lap 202 but by lap 225 Power had stretched his lead to 3.1 seconds over Montoya. Power's blistering pace put a lap on Castroneves at lap 235.
Newgarden then needed to pit for more fuel on lap 236 and dropped from third to a lap down in 12th. He had fresh tires over the final 15 laps though.
Power again got in heavy traffic in the closing laps and Newgarden even went past him as he surged back onto the lead lap picking up numerous positions. Montoya though also could not get past traffic so Power's lead never came under fire.
In the end Will Power scored the victory with Juan Pablo Montoya second, Tony Kanaan third, Scott Dixon fourth, and Josef Newgarden worked his way back to fifth. Ryan Briscoe was sixth and Simon Pagenaud was the last lead lap car in seventh. Mikhail Aleshin was eighth, Ed Carpenter ninth, and Jack Hawksworth tenth. Helio Castroneves finished 11th, Sebastien Bourdais 12th, Marco Andretti 13th, Graham Rahal 14th, Takuma Sato 15th, Charlie Kimball 16th, Justin Wilson 17th, Sebastian Saavedra 18th, James Hinchcliffe 19th, and Carlos Huertas 20th.
After 16 of 18 races Will Power leads Helio Castroneves by 39 points. Simon Pagenaud moved up into third in points and Ryan Hunter-Reay dropped to fourth. Juan Pablo Montoya in fifth and Scott Dixon sixth are also still alive mathematically for the championship. Tony Kanaan is seventh, Carlos Munoz eighth, Sebastien Bourdais ninth, and Marco Andretti tenth.
The next race on the schedule is the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday, August 24th.
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Tags: Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Juan Pablo Montoya, Milwaukee IndyFest, milwaukee mile, Motorsports, Ryan Briscoe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske, tony kanaan, Verizon IndyCar Series, Will Power