Will Power trailed IZOD IndyCar Series championship front-runner Dario Franchitti by 47 points entering the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. He moves on to the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on Sunday considerably closer.
Power pulled away early, didn't have any issues on pit lane, withstood the lone restart challenge and went on to become the first two-time winner in seven years of the event on the 2.303-mile, 12-turn Infineon Raceway road course.
With the bonus points for the pole start and leading the most laps (71 of 75), Power pulled within 26 points of Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who finished fourth.
"It was just a perfect race," said Power, who earned his series-leading fifth victory of the season. "This one is pretty important. I have been unbelievably motivated after a few bad races this season. I knew that Verizon Team Penske was better than this as a team, and we came here with a good setup, finished strong and we are on the right track now."
Power paced a Team Penske 1-2-3 finish as Helio Castroneves was second (the same order as at Edmonton in July) and Ryan Briscoe also tied his season high in third place. The last Penske Racing sweep was in 1994 at Nazareth (Paul Tracy, Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi). The last team to finish 1-2-3 was then-Andretti Green Racing in 2005 at St. Petersburg.
"The Team Penske sweep shows how strong our team is," Castroneves said. "I certainly wanted to win, but Will was in a class of his own. When you look at his lap times in practice and qualifying, you knew he would be strong."
Scott Dixon, who's third in the standings, finished fifth in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.Will Power led a Team Penske 1-2-3 sweep winning Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma just ahead of teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe.
The victory was Power's fifth of the season and 14th of his IndyCar career.
Briscoe, points leader Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon completed the top five.
Danica Patrick, who announced last week that she's moving to NASCAR next season, finished 21st.
"It's not the result that we wanted for the GoDaddy.com car, but hopefully we'll come back and make up for it at Baltimore," she said.
Lap length: 2.303 miles
(Starting position in parentheses)
1. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
2. (2) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
3. (3) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
4. (4) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
5. (5) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
6. (8) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
7. (6) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
8. (13) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
9. (9) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
10. (19) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
11. (18) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
12. (15) Martin Plowman, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
13. (10) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
14. (23) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
15. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
16. (7) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
17. (11) Giorgio Pantano, Dallara-Honda, 75, R.
18. (16) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
19. (17) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
20. (12) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
21. (25) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
22. (28) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
23. (20) J.R. Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
24. (14) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
25. (27) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 74, R.
26. (26) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 66, R.
27. (24) Ho-Pin Tung, Dallara-Honda, 63, C.
28. (21) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 38, M.
Key: R-Running, C-Contact, M-Mechanical. Winner's average speed: 96.408. Time of race: 1:47:29.7619. Margin of victory: 3.2420 seconds. Cautions: 1 for 3 laps. Lead changes: 4 among 2 drivers. Lap leaders: Power 1-25, Briscoe 26-27, Power 28-49, Briscoe 50-51, Power 52-75. Points: Franchitti 475, Power 449, Dixon 400, Servia 327, Briscoe 312, Kanaan 305, M.Andretti 282, Hunter-Reay 281, Castroneves 277, Rahal 264.Copyright © 2015, CT Now