Will Power’s victory on the streets of Long Beach on Sunday kept the Penske racing team as the only winner in the IZOD IndyCar Series so far this year.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach wasn’t easy an easy one for Power after he was forced to start in the sixth row due to a penalty. All the teams using Chevrolet engines were assessed 10-spot penalties on the starting grid for making unapproved changes.
“This was a very sweet victory because I've been on pole here, I think, ’09, ’10 and ’11, and it just frustrated me that every year something would happen and I couldn't win,” Power said. “I thought, once again this weekend I'm starting 12th. I felt as though that's impossible to win. I've got another bad year at Long Beach.”
But the “bad year” didn’t materialize. Power worked his way through the field, conserving fuel as best he could, all of the while being chased down by Simon Pagenaud, of Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports. Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe finished third.
The win at Long Beach was especially sweet for team owner Roger Penske, whose last victory on the circuit was in 2001. Helio Castroneves was in the winner in that race. But, all’s well for now and the team is rejoicing the great start in 2012. Castroneves won in St. Petersburg, Florida, in the series opener (March 25) and Power took the checkered flag took weeks ago in Alabama. Oddly enough, Power started ninth on the grid in that race.
“I think whenever you’re winning, the whole team feels very good,” he said. “I think the team mood should be good because if it’s not good now, it never will be.”
The IndyCar schedule will next take teams to Brazil for the São Paulo Indy 300, on April 29.