Will Power used pit strategy to grab his third victory of the season and close in on Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud in the race for the IndyCar championship.
Power’s victory in Toronto on Sunday (Monday AEST) on the temporary road course at Exhibition Place was his third in four races, and he was second last week at Iowa.
He has moved within 47 points of championship leader Pagenaud in the standings, and the two are tied for the most wins in IndyCar this season with five races remaining.
“We’re definitely closing the gap and we’ve got to keep pushing, man,” the Australian said.
“If we can close that gap going into (the season finale) Sonoma, we can do this. We can win this championship, absolutely.”
He noted that Scott Dixon snatched the IndyCar title from teammate Juan Pablo Montoya last year with a strong late surge.
“As long as it’s mathematically possible, you should never give up,” Power said.
“Dixon has been the example of that year after year. He said to me the other day, with six to go, he was 90 back. Just shows you how quickly that can change.”
Power pitted on Lap 57 of 85 for his final stop of the race and moments later, defending race winner Josef Newgarden, who is second in the championship, crashed when he ran over the curb in Turn 5.
It brought out a caution and ruined the race for pole-sitter Dixon, who had dominated up to that point.
Because Dixon – along with Pagenaud and five others – had yet to pit, they were behind Power and stuck in traffic when they did make their stop.
“I couldn’t believe I came down pit lane and saw the yellow lights come on,” Power said.
“I was so stoked to see yellow lights. It’s not often you catch a yellow like that.”
Dixon led 56 laps but couldn’t recover from having to pit under yellow and finished eighth.
Helio Castroneves rallied from an early flat tyre to finish second.
Newgarden crashed to set up the race-deciding pit sequence and finished last in the 22-car field.
Pagenaud finished ninth – his eighth finish of ninth or better through 11 races this season.
The next race in the IndyCar series is in Lexington, Ohio on July 31.