July 24, 2011
Power happy with team's 1-2 finish
By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Winning the Edmonton Indy two years ago was quite likely the most significant event in Will Power's racing career.
Winning the second one Sunday wasn't so shabby either.
"My first win here was very pivotal in keeping my ride at Penske," said the Australian.
"This win, I guess, is very pivotal in keeping in the championship points race," he said of his fourth win in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year and his 13th career victory in 81 starts.
"Both had pressure. But two years ago here I knew I had to execute that day if I had any chance of keeping my ride," said the driver who had been hired to drive the Helio Castroneves car while the Brazilian was successfully defending himself from a tax evasion charge.
It was a fascinating race as Power joined Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais as two-time Edmonton Indy winners.
A mere 1.1 seconds separated Power, teammate Castroneves and third-place Dario Franchitti, who saw his series lead over Power reduced to 38 points.
It was a 1-2 finish for Team Penske, the 40th 1-2 finish in the long and storied history of Roger Penske's team in open wheel racing.
It was also the first involving Power and Castroneves.
Verrrrry interesting, when you consider here last year Castroneves was leading Power on the last lap when the three-time Indy 500 winner blocked Power.
Castroneves was black-flagged after he took the checkered flag. Power was overtaken by Scott Dixon as a result of the block and Dison became the race winner without leading for a single lap, or even a single second.
A driver isn't supposed to do much thinking out there beyond the next turn, but Power admitted it crossed his mind.
"I did, actually," he laughed.
"I thought 'Wow, it's Helio.
"I was happy to see that we were both having a good day.
"I thought after last year, you know, it was very unfortunate for him because he did win the race. Then it was sort of taken away from him.
"So for both of us, to finish 1-2, I think it's great. I was happy to see him there."
Castroneves, who hasn't won a race all year, was happy to see himself there, too.
"It was awesome," he said. "After the season we've been having, this is like a victory."
His previous best finish this year was a fourth.
It was his third second-place finish in four races here.
"It was similar to what happened last year with Will and I and Dario running in the same situation.
"So hopefully one day the door in Edmonton will be open and we're going to climb the fence that this place owes me so bad.
"You know, I actually enjoy this place. I was very happy with the new promoters and come to the town where the flags are all over the place. People don't realize, but that is a big thing. Everybody knew that the race was happening. I'm so glad for that. Other places should learn from this. Big thumbs up for the organizers and the town of Edmonton.
"I actually felt sad when they said this race is not happening," he said of the temporary cancellation of the event by city council.
"I was like, man, that is a great place, a place where people really want us. I'm glad they saved this place. Now next year will be even better.
"The other layout was very tough for the drivers. This place was not so much physical as the old place because you have a lot of straightaways and braking points. This place is very tough on the car."
Franchitti offered his own review.
Heck he won.
"It wasn't quiet as physical as the old track. I think the old track was a pure drivers' track.
"I think this new track is definitely good for racing."
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