Photo by Kyle McInnes
Will Power in victory lane at the IMS road course. It’s a step back toward normalcy. Power won the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix today, his first win in ten months. Gis 40th career win puts him two wins behind Michael Andretti on the all time career list. Power won for the fifth time at the IMS road course.
Tire strategy was key today. Power took the lead after the first round of opit stops. Pole sitter Pato O’Ward started on reds while most everyone else began the race on the primary tires. O’Ward switched to blacks on the first stop and power took on the faster red tires. He passed O’Ward and ran away from the field, building a lead of more than eight seconds over O’Ward and then Colton Herta.
The race was a mostly processional affair, with a couple of interesting battles in the field. Passing seemed difficult. After a caution filled race last Sunday, today saw the yellow flag come out just twice, the first time on lap 67. Alex Palou brought ourt the first caution when his engine let go. The DNF tightened the points race significantly. he now leads O’Ward by just 21 points. Rinus Veekay spun with assistance a few laps later and stalled, forcing another yellow.
Power is the ninth different winner in 2021. The series is just two different winners shy of the record 11 different winners with four races left.
Alex Palou had everything going his way. He was ahead of his three closest pursuers in the championship and he was less than twenty laps away from padding his lead. Then it was all gone in a puff of smoke.
Christian Lundgaard impressed this weekend. The 20 year old drove a good race, even getting the lead during a pit stop cycle. he finished 12th. I hope we see him again before the season ends.
Top Gun Racing and R C Enerson completed just 16 laps today, but the team did get to race for the first time. They have obtained some sponsorship, and plan to be at Gateway next weekend. I thought it was quite an accomplishment for them to get to do a qualifying run for the 500. they have come a long way.
Scott Dixon matched his worst finish of the year, 17th. Ironically both have been at IMS.
Palou’s poor finish hurt some, but with the days his closest competitors had, it didn’t hurt as much as it could have. His advantage is that O’Ward and Dixon keep swapping second and third, while Newgarden makes only minimal gains and has three drivers to overtake.
The crowd was decent today, although the place didn’t have a true race day vibe.
IMS had a beautiful tribute to Bob Jenkins on the video boards before the race.
I will be back tomorrow with some more thoughts on this weekend’s format tomorrow. Thanks for following along these past two days.