RACING

Power holds off Rossi and wins final Belle Isle race

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A very strange start, where only the first eight or nine cars were in formation, saw Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Josef Newgarden easily convert his pole into the lead, while Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves passed Takuma Sato to win the second. and third for Meyer Shank Racing. -Honda.

Behind ran Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta, while Alexander Rossi immediately began to weave his way through the field, and by lap 3 he was sixth after edging out Scott Dixon, Scott McLaughlin and Marcus Ericsson.

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Rossi then stopped on lap 4 to remove the alternate tires and approach the race with a three-stop strategy.

The other driver moving in the early laps was Power, who left in 16e on the harder primary tires but had entered the Top 10 by lap 5, ahead of fellow primary fatigued racer Dixon.

The pair of them passed Marcus Ericsson on lap 7 to finish seventh and eighth respectively. The alternate tire cars were now struggling, and Power and Dixon passed Herta to win sixth and seventh which became fifth and sixth when Sato pitted.

Power passed O’Ward for fourth on lap 10, Castroneves for third and Pagenaud for second on successive laps. Not far behind him, Dixon and Palou were performing the same maneuvers in their primaries, to run third and fourth on lap 12, and behind them in fifth was another tired rider, Kyle Kirkwood. Power, Dixon and Palou passed Newgarden to take the top three spots on lap 14, and on lap 16 Kirkwood also demoted the poleman.

Rossi, thanks to his first early stop, had charged up to sixth and he passed Newgarden to take fifth on lap 16.

Pagenaud made it to lap 17 on his reds, dropping out of seventh place to catch a set of blacks, and Newgarden and O’Ward were pitted a lap later.

Kirkwood started from fourth on lap 23, allowing Rossi, Devlin DeFrancesco and Rinus VeeKay to take fourth, fifth and sixth, but Rossi made his second stop the next time around.

Up front, Power had taken a five-second lead over Dixon before coming to a halt on lap 25, and he came out with another set of primaries, while Dixon and Palou went one more lap and both nabbed a series of shaky replacements.

Behind Power, Dixon, Palou, Rossi and Kirkwood was Newgarden, some 23 seconds off the lead and chased by Sato, O’Ward and Pagenaud. Already missing were Graham Rahal who hit the wall at Turn 2 on Lap 3, Castroneves who suffered an electrical problem after 20 laps, while one lap down was Penske’s Scott McLaughlin after a long road trip out of the turn 3 and Tatiana Calderon in the #11 Foyt-Chevy.

Power’s lead over Dixon was 8.5 seconds on lap 35, as he was continuously able to lap in 1m 16.9s, while the replacements in the two chasing Ganassi cars bled lap time. On Lap 37 Rossi was within striking distance of Palou and dove inside him at Turn 3 on Lap 39. Dixon proved a tougher nut to crack, finally doing it on Lap 43, again at turn 3. At that point, he was 18 seconds behind Power, but knew Power would have to run reds for his final stint.

Palou stopped on lap 43 which allowed Kirkwood, Newgarden, O’Ward and Ericsson to advance. But on the next lap, Dixon, Newgarden and O’Ward were in the game and they still came out ahead of Palou.

Rossi hadn’t closed the gap on Power once past Dixon and so once he got mixed up in traffic, he stopped for the third and final time, and his pit crew drove off. is comfortably far ahead of Dixon.

Kirkwood stopped on lap 48 and came out ninth, but he tagged the wall on his lap and bent his suspension.

Power’s lead over Rossi on lap 50 was 44 seconds when he stopped for his reds. After his lap, that gap was 16 seconds. Could he go fast enough to stay away from Rossi and not kill his reds? On lap 58, Power was still 11.7 seconds from the good, but had to extract 12 more laps from his reds…

Behind Rossi, Dixon followed his pace and was only 2.8 seconds behind, with Newgarden a similar gap behind the Ganassi car, and remaining 1 second ahead of O’Ward and 2 seconds ahead of Palou.

With seven to go, Power’s lead was 10 seconds and his laps were 1:18, perhaps so as not to catch up with the late traffic, but he was winning over Jack Harvey nonetheless. With four to go Power was eight seconds from good, with three to go he was 6.5 seconds away, two to go he was 5 seconds away, with one to go he was 2.5 seconds away.

Power held on to win by 1.0027sec, with Dixon six seconds behind, ahead of Newgarden, O’Ward and Palou.

Rinus VeeKay dropped from seventh on the final lap, promoting Ericsson and Herta to seventh and eighth.

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