Power wins Grand Prix of Portland, helps teammate in title race

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Team Penske was the big winner in Sunday's Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.

Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) drove away with the race victory - his second in as many IndyCar Series races -- while teammate Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet) extended his lead in the championship standings heading to the season finale Sunday, Sept. 22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

Newgarden could be on a Scott Dixon-like path to the title. Last year, Dixon avoided major contact in a first-corner incident here to finish fifth. Sunday, Newgarden did virtually the same thing, braking to avoid two cars tangling in front of him in an opening-lap melee before going on to finish fifth.

"Maybe we've got Scott's mojo," Newgarden said.

Dixon's current mojo isn't good. A week after having his car's radiator punctured in the race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Dixon's No. 9 PNC Bank Honda suffered a battery failure while leading this race on Lap 52. He had a three-second lead at the time; the pit stop dropped him three laps behind. He finished 16th.

"I just hate giving away an easy win like that," Dixon said.

Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) and Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Chevrolet) finished third and seventh, respectively, and were unable to help their title chances much. Newgarden, the 2017 champion, holds a 41-point lead on Rossi, a 42-point lead on Pagenaud and pushed Dixon (minus-85) closer to championship elimination heading into the season-ending, double points race.

Newgarden can secure the Astor Cup and the $1 million bonus by finishing fourth or better in the Monterey, Calif., race.

"It would be nice if (the finale) wasn't double points, but it is and we knew that from the start of the season," he said. "We will have to make the most of it. I don't think it will be easy."

Newgarden and Pagenaud started deep in the 23-car field after qualifying 13th and 18th, respectively, which put them in peril if a first-turn accident occurred. And it did happen when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal (No. 15 One Cure Honda) bounced into the side of Andretti Autosport's Zach Veach (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda).

Newgarden braked hard and kept his car unscathed, but a trailing Pagenaud spun from a hit from Carlin's Max Chilton (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet). Fortunately for Pagenaud, his car sustained no significant damage and he was able to continue.

Power's first victory at this 12-turn, 1.964-mile track was sweet for several reasons. In addition to being the 37th of his Indy car career - he tied Sebastien Bourdais for sixth place in the sport's history - it was the first win at the track where he made his Indy car testing debut in 2005.

"I remember thinking I wish I could get paid to do this," Power said.

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda) matched his season best with a second-place finish. Rossi finished third with NTT P1 Award winner Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), a series rookie driving for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, finishing fourth.

INDYCAR concludes its 17-race season with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 22. 

Race Results:

1. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 105, Running

2. (5) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 105, Running

3. (7) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 105, Running

4. (1) Colton Herta, Honda, 105, Running

5. (13) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 105, Running

6. (10) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 105, Running

7. (18) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 105, Running

8. (21) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 105, Running

9. (12) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 105, Running

10. (22) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 105, Running

11. (20) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 104, Running

12. (19) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 104, Running

13. (16) Marco Andretti, Honda, 104, Running

14. (23) Ed Jones, Chevrolet, 104, Running

15. (17) Takuma Sato, Honda, 103, Running

16. (3) Scott Dixon, Honda, 102, Running

17. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 96, Mechanical

18. (6) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 81, Contact

19. (4) Jack Harvey, Honda, 13, Contact

20. (8) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 0, Contact

21. (9) Conor Daly, Honda, 0, Contact

22. (11) Zach Veach, Honda, 0, Contact

23. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 0, Contact

Race Statistics

Winner's average speed: 104.225 mph

Time of Race: 1:58:43.0036

Margin of victory: 2.7885 seconds

Cautions: 3 for 17 laps

Lead changes: 7 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Herta, Colton 1 - 36

Dixon, Scott 37 - 40

Rosenqvist, Felix 41

Bourdais, Sebastien 42 - 44

Dixon, Scott 45 - 51

Power, Will 52 - 72

Rosenqvist, Felix 73 - 74

Power, Will 75 - 105

IndyCar Series point standings:

  1. Newgarden 593
  2. Rossi 552
  3. Pagenaud 551
  4. Dixon 508
  5. Power 469
  6. Sato 397
  7. Hunter-Reay 380
  8. Rosenqvist 365
  9. Rahal 353, Ferrucci 339.

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