Edited by Len Ashburn / Ron Felix
Long Beach Win Changes Power's Outlook
LONG BEACH, CA,, April 15, 2012 - For the second time this month, Will Power came into an IZOD IndyCar Series race expecting nothing more than a top-five finish to secure valuable points in the championship. But with two victories in the young season - from starting ninth at Barber and 12th at Long Beach - the hard-charging Aussie might be changing his outlook. Pole starts - of which he has 10 over the past 20 races, including one this year - might not be the automatic ticket to Victory Circle.
Power, who started 12th in the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15 because of a 10-grid position penalty assessed to all Chevrolet teams for unapproved engine changes, squeezed 31 laps from 18.5 gallons of fuel on the 1.968-mile street circuit while being chased down by Simon Pagenaud the final 15 laps. He won by 0.8675 of a second.
"I could not believe it," said Power, who notched his 17th Indy car victory. "You always believe that it is possible to win or get on the podium, but it was very unlikely, the fact that it was going to be a two‑stop race. But it was just amazing that Simon did three stops and I did two stops, like two different strategies and the result was similar. There was hardly any time between us as we crossed the finish line.
"It's just always a surprise in IndyCar, I think. You can never predict; you can never assume going into a race. You just have to be smart as it plays out.
"This was a very sweet victory because I've been on pole here in 2009, '10 and '11, and it just frustrated me that every year something would happen and I couldn't win. Once again this weekend, I'm starting 12th and I felt as though, 'That's impossible to win. I've got another bad year at Long Beach.'
"But it was just a good race. I pushed hard all the time, no mistakes, great strategy, and just a great team effort again."
The team effort has led Power to the top of the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings by 24 points over Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he's won the past two years.
Last year after not converting the Long Beach pole into a podium (he finished 10th) in the third race of the season, Power was seven points to the rear of Dario Franchitti. He wound up second in the standings - by 18 points, which included eight bonus points for a corresponding numbers of pole wins -- for the second consecutive year.
Power added that the team effort is spread across the organization, which has swept the three races (Castroneves winning the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg). The Long Beach Indy car win was Team Penske's first since 2001, when Castroneves prevailed.
"I think it's just that they've been probably one of the best prepared with the new car," Power said. "We did a lot of miles (since manufacturer testing began in November). Chevy has worked very hard, and obviously our first hit of the year ‑‑ obviously the 10‑spot grid penalty was a precautionary thing and didn't affect us too badly.
"To me, it has been hard work. I think my guys feel very confident no matter where we start now that it's always possible."
WILL POWER SURGES TO BACK-TO-BACK WINS WITH LONG BEACH WINS
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Will Power, who started the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Row 6 because of a penalty assessed on all 11 Chevrolet-powered cars for unapproved engine changes, overcame the deficit by stretching 18.5 gallons of E85 the last 21 laps on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit, all the while being chased down by Simon Pagenaud.
It was Team Penske's first Indy car victory at Long Beach since 2001 (Helio Castroneves), while Power won the Champ Car finale on the course in 2008 with KV Racing Technology.
Pagenaud, who pitted the No. 77 Honda-powered car for the final time on Lap 70 of 85, finished 0.8675 of a second back. Over the final three laps, he ran lap times 1.5-2 seconds quicker than Power (1:10.4941 to 1:12.0333 for instance on Lap 84).
Pagenaud, who led laps for the first time since 2007 in Belgium, also gave Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports its highest finish since Jaques Lazier at Nashville in 2001 (as Sam Schmidt Motorsports). Seven different teams were represented in the top 10.
James Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car for Andretti Autosport, finished third as 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. It was his first podium finish in his IZOD IndyCar Series career. Sato, seeking his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium, finished eighth. Hunter-Reay checked in sixth.
Tony Kanaan, who started 19th, finished a season-best fourth and JR Hildebrand was fifth -- his best since placing fourth at Iowa last June.
Also on April 15, Esteban Guerrieri overtook Sunoco Pole Award winner Sebastian Saavedra in Turn 1 of Lap 1 on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit and went on to his first Firestone Indy Lights victory of 2012 by 1.5989 seconds.
It was the fourth career victory (11th top-five finish in 17 races) for the 27-year-old Argentinian.
Picking up two bonus points for leading the most laps, Guerrieri heads to the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway three points behind Saavedra (130) in the championship standings. Tristan Vautier, the points leader entering the race, was credited with third place and has 128 points.
Vautier joined the duo in Victory Circle because of a 30-second penalty assessed the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling car driven by Gustavo Yacaman for ignoring the instructions of Race Control. The car lost one of its mirrors with about 15 laps left in the 45-lap race, and the driver was called to pit lane to replace it (a rule). However, the team didn't have a replacement mirror and he continued.
Does James Hinchcliffe even own a razor? We'll find out in Brazil in two weeks.
"Well, I may or may not have foolishly made a bet with Wade Cunningham and the bet was my first podium I had to show up to the next race with a completely clean-shaven face, and that's not happened since about 2004," said Hinchcliffe, who recorded his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium finish in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
"So I guess in Brazil you're going to be seeing baby face Hinch show up, and I'm not thrilled about that."
Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car for Andretti Autosport, started 16th in the 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile street course because of the 10-grid spot penalty assessed to all Chevrolet-powered teams for unapproved engine changes. His third place was at the expense of teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who incurred a 30-second penalty for avoidable contact with the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car of Takuma Sato on the final lap.
IZOD IndyCar Series Results - Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Results Sunday of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.968 mile Streets of Long Beach:
Pos Car# Driver Chassis-Engine Laps Status
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
Winners average speed: 88.021
Time of Race: 01:54:01.6082
Margin of victory: .8675 of a second
Cautions: 3 for 12 laps
Lead changes: 9 among 7 drivers
Franchitti 1 - 4
Wilson 5 - 19
Sato 20 - 27
Briscoe 29 - 33
Pagenaud 34 - 47
Sato 48 - 55
Hunter-Reay 56 - 58
Pagenaud 59 - 70
Power 71 - 85
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
Ryan Briscoe Captures Long Beach Grand Prix Pole
Franchitti, Newgarden to start on front row following grid penalties
LONG BEACH, Calif., Saturday, April 14, 2012 - Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske teammate Will Power traded the provisional pole four times in the final two minutes of the Firestone Fast Six 10-minute shootout, with Briscoe claiming the pole with an IZOD IndyCar Series track-record lap of 1 minute, 8.6089 seconds. Power was 0.0984 of a second back.
Briscoe earned the one bonus point and $10,000 for claiming the pole position for the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He'll be starting 11th in the 85-lap race April 15 because of a 10-grid spot penalty incurred when Chevrolet advised all of its teams to change engines before the race weekend.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2010 race winner for Andretti Autosport, was third in the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car, while Dario Franchitti in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car was fourth quick. E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe finished fifth and sixth in the session.
All the competitors in the Firestone Fast Six but Franchitti were driving cars powered by Chevrolet engines. Because of those circumstances, Franchitti will lead the 26-car field to the green flag.
Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion who hadn't qualified for the Firestone Fast Six in the two previous races, will be joined on the front row by rookie Josef Newgarden in the No. 67 Honda-powered Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car, who qualified seventh.
Also on April 14, Sebastian Saavedra claimed his second consecutive Sunoco Pole Award, winning the pole for the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Saavedra produced a lap of 1 minute, 14.6143 seconds in the No. 27 Team AFS car on his final lap of the 45-minute qualifying session after he, Tristan Vautier and Esteban Guerrieri traded the top spot in the final five minutes of the 45-minute rally session.
Vautier, driving the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, posted a quick lap of 1:14.7007. On the succeeding lap, though, the car clipped the tire barrier in Turn 5 and Vautier guided the car around the circuit. Firestone Indy Lights officials nullified his quick lap for impeding the progress of competitors on their final qualifying laps and he'll start seventh.
Participants in the "Ortsbo Live & Global: IZOD IndyCar Series" event heard it first: Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello will let their hair grow -- Kanaan's pate and Barrichello's goatee -- if they wind up on the podium together in an IZOD IndyCar Series race this season. "That would be interesting," said Barrichello, who's competing in his third IZOD IndyCar Series race this weekend.
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
This is Ryan Briscoe's first pole of the season, his first pole at Long Beach and the 12th pole of his Indy car career. It is his first pole since he won the pole at Chicagoland in 2010.
This is the fourth consecutive pole at Long Beach for Team Penske.
Will Power qualified second. It is his fourth-straight front row start at Long Beach. He saw his streak of three-straight poles end
Briscoe and Power exchanged the fastest lap four times in the final two minutes of Firestone Fast Six.
James Hinchcliffe qualified sixth. He is the only driver to appear in the Firestone Fast Six in every race this season.
Dario Franchitti and E.J. Viso qualified for the Firestone Fast Six for the first time this season.
There were seven different teams represented in Round Two.
There were four different teams represented in the Firestone Fast Six.
Ryan Briscoe's lap in Q3 (1:08.6089) eclipsed the qualifying record set by Will Power in 2011 - 1:09.0649.
Starting Lineup For Long Beach Grand Prix
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Qualifying Saturday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.968 mile(s) Streets of Long Beach, with starting position, car number, driver, chassis-engine,time and speed in parentheses:
Start Car# Driver Chassis-Engine Time Speed
1. 2 Ryan Briscoe Dallara-Chevy 01:08.6089 103.264
2. 12 Will Power Dallara-Chevy 01:08.7073 103.116
3. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Dallara-Chevy 01:08.7163 103.102
4. 10 Dario Franchitti Dallara-Honda 01:09.0327 102.630
5. 5 EJ Viso Dallara-Chevy 01:09.0634 102.584
6. 27 James Hinchcliffe Dallara-Chevy 01:09.2109 102.365
7. 67 Josef Newgarden Dallara-Honda 01:09.0697 102.575
8. 3 Helio Castroneves Dallara-Chevy 01:09.0846 102.553
9. 18 Justin Wilson Dallara-Honda 01:09.0910 102.543
10. 11 Tony Kanaan Dallara-Chevy 01:09.1987 102.383
11. 77 Simon Pagenaud Dallara-Honda 01:09.2078 102.370
12. 9 Scott Dixon Dallara-Honda 01:09.3658 102.137
13. 15 Takuma Sato Dallara-Honda 01:09.9000 101.356
14. 14 Mike Conway Dallara-Honda 01:09.8868 101.375
15. 38 Graham Rahal Dallara-Honda 01:09.9796 101.241
16. 4 JR Hildebrand Dallara-Chevy 01:10.3794 100.666
17. 83 Charlie Kimball Dallara-Honda 01:10.0188 101.184
18. 26 Marco Andretti Dallara-Chevy 01:10.5939 100.360
19. 8 Rubens Barrichello Dallara-Chevy 01:10.0651 101.117
20. 22 Oriol Servia Dallara-Lotus 01:10.6835 100.233
21. 98 Alex Tagliani Dallara-Lotus 01:10.8168 100.044
22. 19 James Jakes Dallara-Honda 01:10.7579 100.127
23. 20 Ed Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 01:11.4519 99.155
24. 7 Sebastien Bourdais Dallara-Lotus 01:10.8154 100.046
25. 6 Katherine Legge Dallara-Lotus 01:12.1142 98.244
26. 78 Simona de Silvestro Dallara-Lotus 01:12.0590 98.319
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