Aussie Power wins for fifth time on Indy road course

Washington (AFP) –


Australian racer Will Power captured his 40th career IndyCar victory in Saturday's Grand Prix of Indianapolis, taking his first victory of the season.

The 40-year-old claimed a fifth career triumph on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn infield road course that includes part of the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

Power, who started second, led 56 of 85 laps for his first win since last year's Harvest Classic on the same layout.

"We needed it as a group," Power said. "We've just had some bad luck. I've made some mistakes as well. What a relief, man."

French rookie Romain Grosjean was second followed in order by Americans Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi with Mexican pole sitter Pato O'Ward in fifth.

"Wasn't far off," Grosjean said. "We had a good car all day long. I knew I had to go flat out and not make any mistakes."

Power, the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner, brought car owner Roger Penske his first win at Indy since he bought the Speedway and made his sixth appearance at Indy's Victory Lane.

"Pretty special place for me," Power said. "I'm pretty stoked."

Alex Palou, a 24-year-old Spaniard, saw his IndyCar season points lead trimmed in half from 42 to 21 points with four races remaining after blowing an engine.

Palou has 418 with O'Ward second and New Zealand's Scott Dixon, seeking a seventh IndyCar season crown to match A.J. Foyt's all-time record, 34 back in third.

"It looks good," Palou said. "We had the worst day and we're still ahead 21 points. We just need to keep fighting."

O'Ward jumped ahead at the start with Power second, but the Aussie took the lead after the first set of pit stops and Herta passed fading O'Ward for second on lap 22.

Power complained just past the halfway mark that the slower car of Canada's James Hinchcliffe, Herta's teammate, was holding him up, allowing Herta to trim five seconds off the Aussie's advantage.

Power pitted with 24 laps remaining but so did Hinchcliffe and the Canadian stayed just in front of Power as they exited the pit lane and returned to the course, Herta closing the gap more after his own pit stop.

"We had a really good car," Power said. "It was tough to get by lapped traffic. Just put it all together."

Palou blew an engine on lap 68 while running sixth and on a restart with 14 laps remaining, Grosjean passed Herta for second. Dutch racer Rinus Veekay stopped and on a final restart with six laps to go, Power again sped away.

"You've got to survive those yellows," he said. "Was aggressive to hold that position."