Will Power asserted himself as IndyCar’s overall championship leader Sunday after scoring pole position and leading 229 of the 250 laps at the Milwaukee Mile. Going into the race, Power had a scarce lead over teammate Helio Castroneves, but is now 39 points ahead after Castroneves finished 11th Sunday.
Power, a road racing driver with minimal experience racing on ovals compared to some of the other top drivers racing in IndyCar, said oval driving is something he has had to put time into.
“It’s something I’ve worked on so hard,” Power said post-race. “I really enjoy racing on ovals now. Just a perfect day.”
Coming in 2.79 seconds behind Power was Juan Pablo Montoya, followed by Tony Kanaan in third, Scott Dixon in fourth and Josef Newgarden in fifth. Simon Pagenaud, also a contender for the series’ title, drove to a seventh place finish, moving him to third in the standings 92 points behind Power.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, left Milwaukee disappointed after his car experienced problems on lap 168. Hunter-Reay started his race in 19th and managed to fight his way all the way up to fifth. He had fallen back to 11th at the time of the car failure.
“I could feel it running rough for a couple of laps,” he said. “It was undriveable. It was unfortunate.”
The problems put Hunter-Reay out of the race and potentially, out of championship contention too. He is now 108 points out of the lead and with only two races left in the season, his time is running out.
The Verizon IndyCar series continues when the green flag drops at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California on Sunday, August 24. Then its on to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on August 30 for the final race of the season. Power will need to hold off the six other drivers still in contention for a title if he wishes to earn his first ever Indycar Championship.