Road America 2024: How Will Power ended his 2-year win drought

The XPEL Grand Prix at Road America was not as chaotic as the last two races but offered interesting talking points. Let’s find out Will Power returned to victory lane for the first time in two years.

The chaos returns

The non-stop chaos of Detroit appeared to follow IndyCar to Wisconsin. The opening few laps of the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America were a mess. Pole sitter Linus Lundqvist led the field to green, but his time at the front would immediately end.

His Chip Ganassi teammate Marcus Armstrong collided with the Swede in turn one, taking them out of contention and collecting Colton Herta. Armstrong received a penalty for this incident.

Shortly after, even more carnage arrived when Christian Rasmussen took out Kyffin Simpson. The two rookies were fighting hard going into the last sector when Rasmussen made an overly aggressive move and sent Simpson into the gravel/barriers.

More pain for Herta

It was another painful race day for Colton Herta. After showing excellent pace around Road America all weekend and qualifying 2nd, Herta’s hopes of returning to victory lane washed away.

The race start went from bad to worse for the Gainbridge Honda man. He did not have a good start and lost a couple of spots to Kyle Kirkwood and Marcus Armstrong. When the field checked up because of the Armstrong incident, he spun/got tagged by Josef Newgarden and fell to the back.

The pain continued as he tangled with a car again, this time it was with Linus Lundqvist. The Californian went into the grass. He was saved from losing more time since another caution came out.

Despite a horrible race, Herta salvaged a reasonable comeback drive to finish P6. The Andretti man scraped up some points but was far from ideal since he could’ve fought for the win with the speed of his car.

Alternate tires: risk vs reward

The alternate tires while offering better pace, presented a key issue for the drivers at Road America. They had a very narrow operating window and a limit that if passed, spelled disaster.

Scott Dixon learned that lesson the hard way. Early in the race, the six-time champ put on the red tires but soon tumbled down the order. His left rear tire got so blistered and slowed him down so much that it looked like he had a puncture.

On the other hand, Josef Newgarden used them to full effect. He started the race on the reds and got plenty of life and time out of them. This stint put in the picture with teammate Scott McLaughlin, who was leading the opening laps comfortably.

Penske Triple Threat

Kyle Kirkwood was briefly in the picture competing with McLaughlin but later fell out of contention. It got to the point where it was an all-Penkse show at Road America.

Newgarden, after making the alternates work early, got himself to second and would pass McLaughlin for the lead. The former Bus Bros were also joined by their teammate Will Power.

The three Penske drivers all played their respective games of strategy chess. Who would come out on top?

The drought ends for the 12

When it came time for the last round of pit stops, Will Power played the best cards for his Road America challenge. The Verizon Chevrolet pulled off the overcut and pipped both of his teammates.

After he took the lead, he stayed there, fending off a late attack from Newgarden. On lap 55 he crossed the line to win an NTT IndyCar Series race for the first time since Detroit 2022.

Will Power not only took the championship lead with this win but also put himself 4th on the all-time wins list with Michael Andretti.

Following the woes of Detroit, it was redemption day for Penske and Power at Road America finishing 1,2 and 3.

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