IndyCar: Power wins second Harvest GP race in climactic finish
Team Penske's Will Power narrowly eclipsed Andretti's Colton Herta, and his teammate Alexander Rossi.
For the second time in the abbreviated 2020 IndyCar season, Team Penske's Will Power led the field to green at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on pole position for the 61st time in his thus-far illustrious IndyCar career.
The Australian leapt across the track in defense from a charging Colton Herta (Andretti), upon the start, and he led into the first turn. Come the end of the first lap, Power had retained his lead, and a few laps later, this statement still rang true, as the 39-year-old developed a commanding lead early on.
Pit stops soon began, but even as many in the mid-field dove for the pits, all attention shifted to CGR driver and championship leader Scott Dixon, who was carrying major damage after contact with Andretti's Ryan Hunter-reay. Despite claims that the damage was negligible, the Kiwi was losing time to his pursuers, while Penske's Josef Newgarden - the close IndyCar title rival of Dixon - continued his ascension of the running order.
It was at this point that fighting near the front of the large IndyCar field deeply intensified, with Herta, who sat second, coming under threat from his teammate Alexander Rossi and Arrow McLaren SP's Patricio O'ward, both of whom soon pitted along with much of the field.
Power and Herta pitted one lap latter, and upon the latter's stop, he was overtaken by Rossi, who was therefore promoted to second. Further behind, meanwhile, contact between CGR's Felix Rosenqvist and AJ Foyt's Charlie Kimball bunched up a pack of drivers, thus initiating a large battle among the drivers nearer the rear of the field.
Amid the fracas at the back, however, there was tranquility at the front of the running order, with Power only extending his lead over his adversaries. That was, until Rossi began an effort to catch Power, and pit stops for leading drivers injected some life into the battle within the top five, as the Aussie encountered Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), who was not content to let Power by.
The lengthy battle between the two allowed Rossi to close in on his Penske adversary, getting within one second as the lap count ticked down, with Herta also concurrently catching Rossi. Herta continued his charge, ultimately passing Rossi before setting off to catch Power.
With merely five laps of running to go, Herta had caught Power, but a moment with a lapped car briefly derailed his efforts. Back on the charge, Herta followed Power for numerous laps, but the result remained unchanged as the former finished second, unable to overtake the former. Rossi came third ahead of Newgarden, who beat out O'ward to claim fourth, earning crucial championship points, and further cutting Dixon's title lead to 32 points. In fifth was O'ward.
MSR driver Jack Harvey claimed sixth, edging out RLLR's Graham Rahal. Dixon claimed eighth, outdoing DCR's Alex Palou, and the teammate of Power, Simon Pagenaud. Rosenqvist managed 11th in the end, as he was trailed by DCR's Santino Ferrucci.
For Andretti, James Hinchcliffe came 13th, while the 2020 Indy500 champion Takuma Sato came 14th in his RLLR Honda IndyCar. The last of the CGR cars, meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top 15.
Positions 16-25: Ryan Hunter-reay (Andretti), Rinus Veekay (ECR), Sebastien Bourdais (AJ Foyt Racing), Max Chilton (Carlin), Conor Daly (ECR), Helio Castroneves (Arrow McLaren SP), Andretti, Kimball, Sage Karam (D&RR), Dalton Kellett (AJ Foyt).
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida]