This weekend Team Penske had the power—will power, that is.
Power led over two-thirds of the race from the first starting spot as Penske claimed its first victory in the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen, after winning every pole six years running.
Teammate Ryan Briscoe made it a Penske 1-2 after passing Chip Ganassi Racing rival Dario Franchitti in the later laps of the race. Raphael Matos and Mario Moraes rounded out the top five.
Dan Wheldon rebounded from an earlier race incident in the track’s boot to finish sixth. Alex Lloyd punted Wheldon’s Panther Racing Dallara-Honda and Wheldon stalled, the Holmatro Safety Team got him refired before he lost a lap, however, and he utilized an alternate pit strategy to help get him up front.
Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves were also among those to use different pit strategies, although not by choice; Dixon got into the back of his Team Penske rival early on in the race, forcing both to pit for repairs. Neither lost a lap, however, and were able to stay out after the Wheldon caution. They finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
E.J. Viso and Alex Tagliani also had encountered early race issues that put them towards the front in the middle of the race. Viso came home 11th, and Tagliani 17th.
Tony Kanaan, on the other hand, had his problem on the penultimate lap, running out of fuel during a solid top-10 run. The necessity of the splash and go dropped him all the way back to 21st.
Kanaan’s finish was emblematic of a difficult day for most of the members of Andretti Autosport. Coming off the announcement that he would be running the rest of the season for the team, Ryan Hunter-Reay led the team with a seventh place finish, but other than that, there wasn’t much to celebrate about in the AA garage.
Marco Andretti’s streak of three consecutive top five finishes at the Glen was broken with a 13th place run, Adam Carroll’s first race of any kind in over a year yielded a 16th place result, and Danica Patrick continued to struggle on the road courses with a 20th place showing.
As for last year’s race winners, Justin Wilson did sneak into the top 10 for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Meanwhile, it was a difficult day for Dale Coyne Racing, which saw Milka Duno finish 23rd and off the lead lap. Lloyd, meanwhile, was the first driver to retire, shortly after the Wheldon incident.
Power now maintains a lead of 32 points over Franchitti in the series point standings as the series heads to Toronto. His lead in the road course standings is now a whopping 70 over Ryan Hunter-Reay - theoretically, Power could take the next two events off and still win that title.