Will Power wins second IndyCar championship with third place in season finale

·2 min read
Will Power IndyCar championship
Will Power IndyCar championship

MONTEREY, California — Sticking with the steady and unspectacular methods he used all season, Will Power clinched his second NTT IndyCar Series championship with a third-place finish Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

After starting on the pole position for a record 68th time in his career, the Team Penske driver led 17 laps but stayed near the front for nearly all 95 laps on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course on California’s Monterey Peninsula.

Power, who also won the title in 2014, finished 16 points ahead of teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second after starting 25th because of a spin in qualifying.

Race winner Alex Palou also turned in an inspired drive, winning by more than 30 seconds after starting 11th because of a six-position grid penalty. It was the first victory of the season for the defending series champion, who has been embroiled in a contract dispute with Chip Ganassi Racing.

But the main story was Power quietly playing the long game as he had all season. Though he had one only victory this season (at Detroit Belle Isle in June), Sunday was Power’s ninth podium finish in 17 races.

 

The race’s first caution flag flew on Lap 39 after Callum Ilott, who had started a career-best second, stopped in Turn 2 and was unable to refire his No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Dallara-Chevrolet.

IndyCar officials held the yellow for a lap while waiting on whether Ilott would start moving again, and points leader Will Power was among those who dove into the pits to change tires while still under green.

When the race restarted on Lap 43, all five championship contenders were in the top 10 with Palou in the lead ahead of Power with Newgarden (fifth), McLaughlin (sixth), Ericsson (eighth) and Dixon (10th).

But the race went green the rest of the way, and though Newgarden kept climbing through the field (while making an extra pit stop), Power never lost his cool despite getting passed by his teammate and losing the lead to Palou.

Will Power wins second IndyCar championship with third place in season finale originally appeared on NBCSports.com