Man, was Will Power due. After qualifying in the Top 3 for all five races so far this year, all Power had to show for this season was a 2nd place finish at Long Beach and a handful of bad memories. And really, the Long Beach finish was probably more relief at finishing than any kind of joy, since Alexander Rossi was driving on a different level that weekend.
But betting on Power at the road course at Indianapolis is as close to a sure thing as you can find, as he now has won the thing 3 of the 5 years it’s been an Indycar race. Which is not to say that he wasn’t challenged on Saturday, as he was early from Robert Wickens and late from Scott Dixon. But in the end his plan and his driving and most of all his luck all cooperated to provide Roger Penske his 200th career Indycar victory.
Personal observation: It won’t get the publicity, but does this feel like one of those sports records that will never be matched?
Supporting math: If you started a race team, you could win every Indycar race for 12 straight seasons and still not have that many wins.
Discussion question: Could one team actually win every race for over a decade, or would other teams leave well before that and go race somewhere else?
(“Who exactly are you asking these questions to?” – The Spotter
Speaking of guys who are due, Dixon definitely used some magical strategy powers to go from 21st to 2nd, although that probably isn’t doing his driving any justice. Dixon is still probably the most talented driver in the series, and he still has a team filled with smart people, so he’s a threat to win every race. All of them. He just hasn’t won any of them this season, but he’s now up to 4th in the series championship standings, the highest of any non-winner.
And as strange as it sounds to say this, Robert Wickens appears to be due for a win. Although he’s a rookie, he’s been competing for the lead more races than not this season. He might have had something for Power if had any experience saving fuel in an Indycar, but come on, it was only his 5th race.
Also, perhaps the most “due” driver is Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud went to the back of the field after his first lap incident with Jordan King, but managed to drive his way up to 8th – which is his best finish of the season so far! How does a guy go from 2016 champ to 2017 runner-up to. . .this?!? He’s due for at least a podium finish soon, right?
Lastly, after having boatloads (get it!) of good fortune recently, we can presume Josef Newgarden was “due” for a bad result. Maybe he believed he was immune to such things as he tried a highly optimistic maneuver around Sebastien Bourdais, but Newgarden is sure disabused of such nonsense now. Better to get that folly out of the way before The 500.
Honorable Mention this week:
Sebastien Bourdais, who after his 4th place finish this weekend, might be the most consistent driver in the series this season.
Alexander Rossi, who after his 5th place finish this weekend, might also be the most consistent driver in the series this season.
Helio Castroneves, for getting back in an Indycar after an 8 month layoff and rolling to a 6th place finish. Yes, he is still pretty good at this.
Everybody! Congratulations to all drivers for running at the finish. Even both of the ECR drivers (Jordan King and Spencer Pigot) who both had mishaps on the first lap.
Final Lap: What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks happened to Tony Kanaan? He was running just outside of the Top 5 all day but then vanished from contention after the last pit stop.