Will Power Holds off Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti for Win in Edmonton
For the second consecutive race, the IndyCar Series was in Canada, with all eyes on the championship contenders. Will Power and Dario Franchitti got together again, but this time it was after the race, as they both celebrated on the podium.
While everyone was watching Franchitti and Power’s every move, Takuma Sato went out on Saturday and won the pole for Sunday’s race in Edmonton.
Sato led the first 18 laps of the race, in what was a great run for KV Racing. All three of the Lotus cars were running in the top 10. On lap 19, Power was able to get under Sato to take the lead, and the Ganassi cars followed. Scott Dixon and Franchitti both were able to follow Power, putting Sato back into fourth.
It was a rough start for two of the three Canadian drivers, and Graham Rahal. Surprisingly, all 26 cars made it through turn one without any contact, but soon after, Alex Tagliani pressed hard going into turn five, and locked up his wheels. He slid into the back of Rahal, cutting his left-rear tire. Rahal eventually spun off the track, and came back on directly into the path of Paul Tracy.
Both Rahal and Tracy were out of the race on the first lap, and Tagliani had to serve a drive through penalty, although he was already set to restart in the back of the field after changing his damaged wing.
On lap 25, Oriol Servia got put into the tire barrier after Mike Conway attempted to make a pass. Conway got under him, but there really wasn’t much room to make a pass. Servia had just made his first pit stop of the race. Conway was given a drive-through penalty.
On the restart, Dixon had problems when he and EJ Viso got together. Dixon’s car was smoking, and he brought his car into pit lane. The team discovered the problem was with the radiator, and he had to go behind the wall for the repair. He finished the race in 23rd, and is now more than 100 points behind in the championship.
Once again turn five was the center of attention on lap 39, when Ryan Hunter-Reay got into pole sitter Takuma Sato. Both drivers were running in the top five, but Sato fell back into 19th position. Ryan was given a drive through penalty, which put him back into 13th position.
Alex Tagliani came into pit on lap 49, which gave the top three positions in the race to team Penske. The team has had quite an up and down season, but they all looked good in Edmonton.
Dario got by Briscoe as the final pit stops cycled through, and both he and Castroneves closed the gap on race leader Power. These three separated themselves from the rest of the field, and it was a three-car shootout from there on.
Power was able to fend off his teammate to win the race, and Franchitti settled for third. Tony Kanaan finished in fourth after Briscoe had to come in on the final lap for fuel. Justin Wilson had a solid day as he rounded out the top five.
Will led 58 of the 80 laps on Sunday, which was his fourth win of the 2011 season.
Power was able to make up a few points on Dario in the championship as they head to Mid-Ohio for the next race on August 7. The gap between the two now is just 38 points, with seven races remaining.
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