Power wins at Belle Isle IndyCar

Australian IndyCar driver Will Power was fast enough for a track record during qualifying, though it didn’t count because of a penalty.

It was another tough break for a driver who hadn’t won in over a year – but it was also a sign that Power was still a threat.

Hours after that qualifying mishap on Sunday (Monday AEST), Power raced to his first victory of the season, holding off points leader Simon Pagenaud by 0.92 seconds at Belle Isle.

It was the 26th win of Power’s career and the first since the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May 2015.

“It’s been a weekend where we were knocking on the door,” Power said.

“Very satisfying. It’s been a tough season I would say, but I’ve kind of kept the faith.”

Power would have set a track record in qualifying, but the Australian was penalised for interference and had his top two laps taken away.

Pagenaud won the pole, while Power started eighth.

The key move came with about 18 laps remaining, shortly after a restart.

Power passed Pagenaud to take over fifth place – and the top four drivers still had to pit again.

“I knew on that restart, I had to get Simon. It was my best chance,” Power said.

“But he’s the championship leader and also my teammate, so I had to make it a very clean move so I went to the outside. I wouldn’t have done it to go up the inside – too much risk of taking him out.”

After moving ahead of Pagenaud, Power was in good position to win, and he took over the lead in his No. 12 Chevrolet on the 61st of 70 laps on the 2.35-mile street course.

Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third, and Josef Newgarden was fourth.

Sebastien Bourdais, who won the weekend’s first IndyCar race at Belle Isle on Saturday, finished eighth.

Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was 12th.

Power and Pagenaud gave team owner Roger Penske a 1-2 finish on Sunday, although teammate Juan Pablo Montoya went into the wall around the race’s halfway point and finished 20th.

Aussie Power had only two top-five finishes in the first seven races this season.

He had a shifting issue Saturday and ended up 20th, but the win Sunday could help turn his season around.

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