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article imageINDYCAR: Power makes it three wins in a row

By John Duarte     Mar 31, 2014 in Sports
Saint Petersburg - Will Power opened the new IndyCar season the way he ended the old one, with a trip into Victory Lane for the third-consecutive time.
Power, who had won the last two races of the 2013 IndyCar season, opened the season with a win at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It was Power's second win in the Florida city in the past four years.
“That's how you want to start the season,” Power said. “Last year was horrible and this year it's good to get the points lead.”
The win on Sunday was the 22nd of Power's IndyCar career in 122 race starts. Power has never won the IndyCar title. But after three consecutive second-place finishes in the series, Power served notice as to what he has in store for 2014.
“We came into the season wanting to win a championship,” he said. “I worked so hard in the off season.”
The race ran caution free most of its scheduled 110 laps, until Charlie Kimball spun and made contact with the tire wall on Lap 76 to bring out the yellow flag. The race was about to get underway, on Lap 81, when a collision involving Marco Andretti and Jack Hawksworth brought out another caution flag.
Power led the most laps (74) during the race and was almost two seconds ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay when he crossed the finish line. Helio Castroneves finished the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in third place. Hunter-Reay, who was series champion in 2012, has never finished better than second in St. Petersburg.
“We definitely hung in there,” he said. “We are happy to start the season out this way, so I'm ready to go to Long Beach.”
The race marked the return of Juan Pablo Montoya to IndyCar racing after six years in Formula 1 racing and eight years with NASCAR. Montoya has an extensive winning resume with victories in Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), the precursor to the IndyCar series, Formula 1 and, most recently, NASCAR. He was CART champion in 1999 and won the Indianapolis 500 the following year. He said he was happy with his race.
“I think it went pretty good,” Montoya said. “There are a few things we have to do better, but I didn't feel my pace was too bad there at the end.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series stays on street circuits with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, in California, on April 13, 2014.
Among the changes for the season ahead, IndyCar has altered the way it awards points for the driver standings. While the basic point-system remains unchanged, the driver winning each of the three 500-mile events (the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, the Pocono IndyCar 500 on July 6 and the MAVTV 500 on August 30) the will score double points. Points will also be awarded during the two days of qualifying for the Indy 500.
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