Tuesday July 14th, 2020 7:59PM

Will Power wins at Portland in big day for Team Penske

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — Josef Newgarden tightened his grip on the IndyCar championship with a trouble-free run at Portland International Raceway and a victory by teammate Will Power.

Power won for the second time in three races, and the Sunday victory was critical because it prevented any of Newgarden's title contenders from taking the top spot on the podium.

Newgarden started with a 38-point lead in the standings, finished fifth and now takes his bid for a second title in three years to the Sept. 22 season finale to Laguna Seca in California.

"I am happy for Will, I wanted Will to win the race," Newgarden said. "If we weren't going to win it, then he's the guy to win and take the points away from somebody else."

Power understood the task for Team Penske and Chevrolet, and understood he had to prevent Alexander Rossi and five-time and reigning series champion Scott Dixon from winning at Portland and closing in on Newgarden's points lead. Rossi finished third, but still trails Newgarden by 41 points, while Dixon was in control of the race early until his battery died and is now a longshot to win the title.

"Just so stoked get to victory lane, helps the team, keeps the other guys from getting points," Power said.

Less than thrilled was Rossi, who believed Portland was the place to pounce after Newgarden had a poor qualifying effort. It put Newgarden in 13th at the start and in the thick of the chaos that began with a multi-car crash in the opening turn. Newgarden, realizing he must only stay out of trouble in two races to win the title, remained calm and avoided the carnage.

"I was in the wrong place, I can tell you that," he said. "I saw someone come barreling at me, so I just tried to stop and go around. When you start that far back, you run the risk of being part of something like that."

Even after dropping to the back of the field, he still managed to drive his way toward the front and finish just two spots behind Rossi. While it's still a matchup of a pair of American drivers racing for the title at Laguna Seca, Rossi knows he must win the finale and hope Newgarden has a disastrous race to win the championship.

Rossi was runner-up to Dixon in last year's title race.

"It's disappointing. We are on the podium from (starting) seventh and Josef was at the back at the beginning, and it's just tough," Rossi said. "He's just always coming through. It's hard when you have a good day and it's just not good enough."

All the contenders might have had to contend with Dixon, who had command of the race when his car powered down during a routine stop. His crew had to push him to his stall and replace the battery, and Dixon went from leader to three laps off the pace in a moment. His title hopes — he was fourth among the four drivers mathematically eligible to win the championship — dashed.

Power moved into the lead after Dixon's issue and withstood a restart with four laps remaining for the victory. Felix Rosenqvist was second, followed by Rossi, pole-sitter Colton Herta, Newgarden, Spencer Pigot and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, the final driver in the championship picture.

Pagenaud is now 42 points behind teammate Newgarden. Laguna Seca is worth double points.


Graham Rahal accepted fault for an opening-lap crash that ended his day, as well as both Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports cars on a pivotal day for driver Conor Daly.

Daly was essentially in a tryout for that seat next year, but didn't even make it through the first turn after Rahal misjudged the corner and triggered a multi-car accident.

"Probably one of the most important races of my career ended by others' mistakes," said Daly, who was called in last-minute by the team when regular driver Marcus Ericsson opted to attend the Formula One race instead.

Rahal was apologetic for his error.

"I just messed up, misjudged it," Rahal said. "I lost my depth there in the pack, not just a little, but a lot. I screwed up."


IndyCar won't return to Pocono Raceway next season and instead will replace the oval with Richmond Raceway on the 2020 schedule. Pocono's contract expired after last month's race and the Pennsylvania track has been questioned over its compatibility with IndyCar. The championship picture was clouded by a five-car crash on the opening lap in which one driver was evaluated at a hospital after his car sailed into the fence and another driver landed upside-down atop another car. Pocono returned to the IndyCar schedule in 2013. Justin Wilson was killed two years later when he was struck in the helmet by debris from another car. Last year, Robert Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury when his car sailed into the fence.


The IndyCar community planned to honor late driver Greg Moore, who was killed in a Halloween day crash 20 years ago at California Speedway, with a post-race party. Moore was a popular Canadian from Vancouver with a contract to join Roger Penske's team in 2000 when he was killed in the 1999 season finale. The event planners encouraged guests to wear Hawaiian shirts, boot cut jeans, cargo pants and polo shirts with the collars popped to honor Moore's 1990's style. The event is fitting at Portland, which has added a throwback feel since it returned to the IndyCar schedule two years ago. Fans starved for live racing in the Pacific Northwest have packed the three-day event at the dusty road course that was once one of the most popular starts on the CART and Champ Car schedules.


The IndyCar season finale at Laguna Seca, which will be hosting IndyCar on Sept. 22 for the first time since 2004.


More AP auto racing: and

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Auto Racing, Formula One Racing, Indy Car Racing
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Will Power wins at Portland in big day for Team Penske
Will Power has won at Portland International Raceway in a strong day for Team Penske, as Josef Newgarden slightly tightened his grip on the IndyCar championship
5:48PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Police: 7 killed, 22 injured in West Texas shooting rampage
Authorities said Sunday they still could not explain why a man with an AR-style weapon opened fire during a routine traffic stop in West Texas to begin a terrifying rampage that killed seven people
5:35PM ( 17 minutes ago )
The Latest: Gauff, McNally win in US Open women's doubles
Teen stars Gauff, McNally advance to third round of US Open doubles
5:27PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Serena advances at Open, gets treated for ankle
Serena Williams rolled her ankle but that didn't slow her down in straight set victory to advance to US Open quarters
4:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Arsenal recovers to draw 2-2 against Tottenham
Arsenal fought back from two goals down against Tottenham to draw 2-2 in the Premier League on Sunday
4:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Tottenham throws away lead against Arsenal, unease persists
A wide-open north London derby fizzing with tension and littered with errors highlighted flaws that show why Arsenal and Tottenham are some way off from challenging for the Premier League title
4:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Leclerc emerging as Ferrari No. 1 driver as Vettel struggles
While four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel continues to struggle, his young teammate Charles Leclerc is emerging as Ferrari's No. 1 driver
2:01PM ( 3 hours ago )
Minute's silence twice held in memory of F2 driver Hubert
On a solemn weekend for motorsport, drivers twice observed a minute's silence on Sunday in memory of French driver Anthoine Hubert
12:51PM ( 5 hours ago )
Ferrari driver Leclerc wins Belgian GP in solemn atmosphere
Charles Leclerc holds off Hamilton to win the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday
12:44PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
Rossi eyes race wins to regain ground in IndyCar title chase
Alexander Rossi took a huge hit in the championship race when he was collected in an accident on the opening lap at Pocono Raceway
6:03PM ( 1 week ago )
Power wins shortened Pocono race marred by wreck, weather
Will Power won the shortened race at Pocono Raceway, the 13th straight season he's won an IndyCar race
8:43PM ( 1 week ago )
The Latest: Rosenqvist taken to hospital after Pocono wreck
The Latest: IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after 5-car wreck at start of race at Pocono
3:41PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Indy Car Racing
Police: 7 killed, 22 injured in West Texas shooting rampage
Authorities said Sunday they still could not explain why a man with an AR-style weapon opened fire during a routine traffic stop in West Texas to begin a terrifying rampage that killed seven people
5:35PM ( 17 minutes ago )
The Latest: Gauff, McNally win in US Open women's doubles
Teen stars Gauff, McNally advance to third round of US Open doubles
5:27PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Flores says it again: Dolphins aren't tanking in 2019
Miami Dolphins 1st -year coach Brian Flores says his team isn't tanking in 2019
5:11PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Indians pitcher Carrasco cheered in return from leukemia
Carlos Carrasco made his return to the mound from leukemia and the Cleveland Indians pitcher was applauded by both teams in a touching scene during Tampa Bay's 8-2 victory that completed a three-game sweep
5:05PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Verlander pitches 3rd career no-hitter, Astros beat Jays 2-0
Justin Verlander pitched his third career no-hitter, punctuating a dominant season by striking out 14 to lead the Houston Astros past the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0
4:58PM ( 54 minutes ago )