Power wins ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway to tighten championship

Updated: 

LONG POND, Pa. – Simon Pagenaud entered the ABC Supply 500 with a 58-point lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship over Will Power. As the Team Penske drivers leave Pocono Raceway this evening, the silver No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet of Power is much larger in the figurative rear view mirror.

Power won today’s 500-mile race at Pocono Raceway by 1.1459 seconds over pole sitter Mikhail Aleshin, while Pagenaud crashed out in 18th place to heat up the championship battle with three races yet to be completed. Ryan Hunter-Reay, last year’s Pocono winner, charged from the last starting position to finish third.

“Well, I felt like this place owed us,” said Power, who had two top-five finishes in three previous Pocono races. “We’ve led a lot of laps here. The car started off really, really difficult to drive. We adjusted on it all day and, for the second half of the race, the car was just awesome. Awesome.”

Awesome enough to trim Power’s points deficit to Pagenaud to just 20 points. Josef Newgarden, who finished fourth in the race, moved into third in the point standings, 100 behind Pagenaud.

CLICK HERE: ABC Supply 500 box score

Aleshin, in the No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda, accounted for several of those lead changes. The 29-year-old Russian battled up front all day after earning his first career pole on Saturday and led 87 laps en route to his matching his best Verizon IndyCar Series finish.

“I’m very proud of my team and everyone who works on the SMP Racing car No. 7,” said Aleshin, who led the most laps three weeks ago at Mid-Ohio as well (33), but was denied victory due to a late pit incident. “They did a fantastic job today and it paid off.”

“Will was just faster in the end and I couldn’t do anything with him,” Aleshin added. “When I was catching him, I almost put my car into the wall a couple of times but I still couldn’t overtake him. He has a fair win, for sure, but I’m happy to be in second place because we had some difficult moments this race and this year, so this is a good position to move forward.”

Hunter-Reay’s wild day began on the first lap, storming from his 22nd starting spot to 14th. The driver of the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda later took the lead on Lap 49, capping his last-to-first run despite racing his backup car after the primary was damaged in a practice crash on Saturday.

The complications weren’t done for Hunter-Reay, however, who later lost power after taking the lead on Lap 163, losing a lap as he reset the car’s electronics while driving through pit lane. A late caution helped the 2015 Pocono winner get back on the lead lap and he cut through the field in the final 20 laps to the bottom step of the podium.

“I had to come through the field twice. It’s heartbreaking,” said the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. “It’s the type of year it’s been for us: really heartbreaking. The No. 28 DHL Honda really deserved to be in contention for the win there at the end.

“The car was a rocket ship. It’s a shame.”

Poor fortunes also struck Hunter-Reay’s teammate and reigning Indy 500 champ Alexander Rossi, who was part of a bizarre incident on pit road on Lap 64. Upon exiting his pit stall, Rossi (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda) made contact with Charlie Kimball’s No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet, went airborne and bounced over the top of the No. 3 of Helio Castroneves (Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet). All three were eliminated from contention, and Rossi and Castroneves’ days were done.

“Everyone is going to have their own opinion, but I was staying in the slow lane,” said Rossi, who finished 20th after a 20-second time penalty for avoidable contact and contact with pit equipment was assessed. “Kimball was obviously trying to come in his box, but then Helio was being released, so I don’t know. It’s very unfortunate. This car was awesome today.”

For Pagenaud, it went pear-shaped on Lap 158, when the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevy wiggled in Turn 1 and slapped the outside wall. Pagenaud was uninjured but the damage cuts a major chunk out of the points lead he has held since the second race of the season.

 “There’s nothing we can do about it now, so we’ll move on to Texas. I don’t think it changes anything. We’ve gone all out all season and that’s not going to change.”

After a final caution on Lap 176 for debris allowed all leaders to pit, a 20-lap sprint to the finish saw jostling for position all around the track. But after a few laps, Power and Aleshin had stretched a three-second lead on the rest of the pack.

The Russian stalked Power but could not find a way alongside in the closing laps. Power won his fourth race of the season and made it six straight races finishing in the top two, dating to the second race at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit in June. Power also claimed his 29th career win, tying him with Castroneves and Rick Mears for 11th on the all-time list.

There is no break for Verizon IndyCar Series, as the field heads Saturday to Texas Motor Speedway for the resumption of the Firestone 600. The race was suspended after 71 laps in June due to rain. There will be a brief practice session (5:30-6 p.m. ET, RaceControl.IndyCar.com) before the race resumes under the lights on the 1.455-mile oval. Race coverage begins 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Pos

SP

Car

Driver

C/E/T

Lap

Laps Down

Time Down

Pit Stops

Elapsed Time

Avg Speed

Pts

Running/Reason Out

1

8

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

200

0

--.----

8

02:46:28.9856

180.198

51

Running

2

1

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

200

0

1.1459

8

02:46:30.1315

180.178

44

Running

3

22

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

200

0

5.9076

9

02:46:34.8932

180.092

36

Running

4

2

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

200

0

7.0750

8

02:46:36.0606

180.071

33

Running

5

18

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

200

0

7.5285

9

02:46:36.5141

180.063

31

Running

6

19

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

200

0

7.8896

9

02:46:36.8752

180.056

29

Running

7

5

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

200

0

11.5938

8

02:46:40.5794

179.990

26

Running

8

15

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

200

0

13.4345

9

02:46:42.4201

179.956

24

Running

9

9

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

200

0

13.7988

8

02:46:42.7844

179.950

23

Running

10

6

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

200

0

14.2235

9

02:46:43.2091

179.942

20

Running

11

11

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

200

0

14.3471

9

02:46:43.3327

179.940

19

Running

12

13

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

200

0

16.3334

8

02:46:45.3190

179.904

18

Running

13

17

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

200

0

17.1907

10

02:46:46.1763

179.889

17

Running

14

12

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

200

0

18.5585

9

02:46:47.5441

179.864

16

Running

15

16

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

199

1

-

11

02:47:00.5181

178.733

15

Running

16

20

88

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

198

2

-

10

02:46:48.2590

178.053

14

Running

17

21

19

Mann, Pippa

D/H/H/F

197

3

-

10

02:46:58.7731

176.968

13

Running

18

14

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

157

43

-

7

02:07:20.5988

184.933

13

Contact

19

4

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

63

137

-

3

00:52:42.2672

179.302

11

Contact

20

7

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

63

137

-

5

00:53:01.4137

179.350

11

Contact

21

10

20

Carpenter, Ed

D/C/C/F

57

143

-

3

00:56:22.2061

151.676

9

Mechanical

22

3

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

1

199

-

0

00:01:16.3324

117.905

8

Contact

Lead Change Summary

Leader Summary

On Lap

Car

Leader

Car

Driver

Laps Led

1

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

87

2

21

Newgarden, Josef

12

Power, Will

55

11

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

31

32

98

Rossi, Alexander

21

Newgarden, Josef

15

34

9

Dixon, Scott

98

Rossi, Alexander

4

36

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

3

38

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

9

Dixon, Scott

3

49

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

10

Kanaan, Tony

1

56

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

22

Pagenaud, Simon

1

61

21

Newgarden, Josef

62

98

Rossi, Alexander

64

12

Power, Will

66

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

90

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

94

21

Newgarden, Josef

96

10

Kanaan, Tony

97

9

Dixon, Scott

98

12

Power, Will

100

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

120

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

123

21

Newgarden, Josef

126

12

Power, Will

129

22

Pagenaud, Simon

130

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

134

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

151

12

Power, Will

157

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

158

12

Power, Will

164

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

165

12

Power, Will

Caution Summary

No

Duration

Total

Reason for Caution

1

2 to 7

6

Contact: Car 14 in Turn 3

2

64 to 69

6

Contact: Cars 3, 83, and 98 in Pit Lane

3

158 to 162

5

Contact: Car 22 in Turn 1

4

176 to 178

3

Debris

Penalty Summary

Car

98

Reason

Avoidable Contact

Lap

63

Penalty

20 Second Penalty

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone

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