It was back to the road courses, and back to the way things left off after the last road course, with Will Power and Team Penske taking charge and claiming pole position. In six visits to Watkins Glen, the local fans had never seen a non-Penske pole position winner, so it was business as usual. However, the fans had also never seen a Penske winner at the Glen since 1981 and the CART days. Will Power felt like changing that, and that is exactly what he did, writes our IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon…
Making his first start of the year was Paul Tracy. After failing to qualify for the Indy 500, Tracy had to prove he still had what it took to run with the leaders, and was running well in ninth place.
Early in the race, Scott Dixon, running in fourth place, was right underneath Helio Castroneves’ gearbox and had a run through the Esses and up to the Bus Stop chicane. With the slipstream, any racer knows lifting off the throttle is not an option when trying to overtake. Unfortunately, Castroneves made his first move to hold position at the same time as Dixon moved out to overtake. This resulted in the front-right part of Dixon’s front wing making contact with the left-rear tyre of Castroneves’ car, damaging Dixon’s wing and puncturing Castroneves’ tyre. Both had to pit for repairs, but as it was early in the race and they were among the leaders, neither lost a lap, only a handful of positions.
On Lap 17, Panther Racing’s Dan Wheldon was hit from behind by Dale Coyne’s Alex Lloyd, who was making an overambitious overtaking move, which was never likely to stick. Wheldon spun but was able to get going again, albeit a few spots down the order. This brought out the first full-course caution of the day and prompted the first round of pit stops.
Later in the race, Dario Franchitti had dropped to fourth place behind a charging Raphael Matos. Up front, Ryan Briscoe passed Will Power during the next round of pit stops but was unable to build a lead over his fellow Aussie.
The next caution flag came out following Simona De Silvestro crashing out. Attempting to correct a wiggle, the car suddenly re-gripped the track, sending the young Swiss driver into the wall. It was a minor accident and De Silvestro walked away unharmed.
Will Power found himself back in the lead for the final stint, with Ryan Briscoe following Dario Franchitti until the final lap, before getting a run on the defending series champion at the start of the final lap and passing into Turn 1. From there, it remained as it was, with Power leading Briscoe and Franchitti home, extending his lead at the top of the road course championship and the overall series championship.
The next stop for the series is outside the United States, as the series heads north to Toronto to the familiar Exhibition Place. Home-town hero Paul Tracy returns and will hopefully remind his home fans he still has what it takes to be competitive in the IndyCar Series.
[Original images via AUTOSPORT]