Will Power raced his way to victory Saturday afternoon in race one of the Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit on Belle Isle. The significance of the win for team owner Roger Penske and manufacturer Chevrolet was no secret.
“On his home track and in Chevy’s backyard, it’s a perfect day,” Power said Saturday. “If we can do it again tomorrow, it’ll be even better.”
It was a well deserved, hard-fought win for Power, who was hounded by second place finisher Graham Rahal over the final ten laps. The margin of victory, a mere 0.3308 on the bumpy, 13-turn, 2.36-mile street circuit.
Power did everything asked of a driver still in search of his first season title. He overcame a season-worst starting position (16th). Hunter-Reay was back there, too, starting 21st of 22 after contact with the wall in qualifying.
In the clean air of mid-race, Power ripped off a series of hot laps that gained him the track position needed to give him a chance to win.
The victory was the 23rd of Power’s career,(tied for 18th all-time with Tommy Milton) and closed the gap back up on the IndyCar series points battle to just three points. Last weeks Indianapolis 500 winner and current series point leader, Ryan Hunter-Reay suffered a last lap crash.
Series veteran, Tony Kanaan came home a season-best third.
Penske had not won an open-wheel race in the area he calls home since Helio Castroneves finished first in 2001.
For Chevy, which sponsors the race, it was a good day after being relegated to watching Honda dominate the previous three races over the last two years in the shadow of its world headquarters.
Power, Penske, and Chevrolet will get a shot to repeat at the Detroit Grand Prix on Sunday as part of IndyCar’s first of three doubleheaders this season.