Will Power gives a thumbs-up to lucky photographer, Myles Regan, as he celebrates his improbable and masterful second win at the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the first win for the new Chevrolet-powered DW12 Dallara. Image Credit: Myles Regan (2012)
Will Power's First Celebration At The 38th Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach
This posting serves to clear the record as to when Verizon Team Penske's
Will Power was first able to celebrate his second win on the temporary
street course that has served as a race venue, now, for 38 years. Most
people think that the celebration would not really begin until the car
and driver arrive at Victory Circle where all of the credentialed
photographers stake out a good position to capture the action on the
provided riser. Today, this was not the case - EVIDENCE HERE.
At the end of the race, Helio Castroneves (Penske-Chevy) did a
chrome-horn nudge with the front of his DW12 to rear of former F1 driver
Rubens Barrichello (KVRT-Chevy) at the apex of the hairpin turn #11.
Rubens spun and blocked Helio from going around Rubens car and Helio, in
turn, blocked Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne-Honda) and both Helio and
Justin ended up being stalled with their cars unable to pass thus
shutting down the rest of the straight-away to the Start/Finish line.
Penske's Ryan Briscoe, however, was able to sneak through before the
orange-suited Holmatro IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Team were able to take
over and straighten out the mess in the corner.
What happened next is the stuff of footnote legend - Will Power came up to the apex of turn #11 and was completely stopped.
Upon recognizing his plight ... and then in a move that showed he could
no longer contain his excitement at winning his second Toyota Grand Prix
of Long Beach race (after three consecutive pole positions and no win),
he unstrapped himself, got out of the car, and shared his celebration
with fellow stuck drivers, the crowd in the bleachers closest to the
turn, the crews that came out to clear the mess, and the photographers
who were tucked in at the "island" apex shooting location.
One has to love the back story that not only did Chevy win the race and
place a second car on the podium (Andtetti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe
- "Mayor of Hinchtown"/"Manica") at P3 ... they took 7 of the top 10
places in the race after being penalized 10 positions to start the race.
The closest Chevy on the grid at race start was Penske's Ryan Briscoe
At race end, two Chevy's get together and blocked the track to the final
straight that led to the Start/Finish line. One would assume that Beaux
Barfield, Director of Race Control had to "call" the race and sort out
the finishing order due to the blockage.
Power gives a personal honor to the
creators and race engineers of his Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet-powered
twin-turbo DW12 Dallara as he bends over to suggest a kiss on the car
through his helmet. Image Credit: Myles Regan (2012)
Myles Regan of Regan Digital Images
(regandigitalimages.com), being the professional he is, kept the camera
clicking away in gang-shot mode and he shared a file that contains
about 140 images or so that are just excellent and capture the whole
incident ... even down to Will Power bending over his Verizon Penske
Chevy and giving it a kiss through his helmet on the nose cowling that
covers the suspension. The Video here shows the images Myles was able to
capture in post-race turn #11 which are just priceless.
For the second time this month, Will Power came into an IZOD IndyCar
Series race expecting nothing more than a top-five finish to secure
valuable points in the championship.
But with two victories in the young season - starting from ninth at
Barber and 12th at Long Beach - the hard-charging Aussie might be
changing his outlook. Starting an IndyCar race from the pole position
... of which Power has 10 over the past 20 races, including one this
year, might not be the automatic ticket to Victory Circle.
Having to start the race from the 12th position in the 38th Toyota Grand
Prix of Long Beach on April 15 (due to a 10-grid position penalty
assessed to all Chevrolet teams for unapproved engine changes), Power
squeezed 31 laps from 18.5 gallons of fuel on the 1.968-mile street
circuit while being chased down by former ChampCar World Series
team-mate (Team Aussie), Simon Pagenaud, the final 15 laps. Will Power
won by 0.8675 of a second.
"I could not believe it," said Power, who notched his 17th IZOD IndyCar Series victory.
"You always believe that it is possible to win or get on the podium,
but it was very unlikely, the fact that it was going to be a two‑stop
race. But it was just amazing that Simon did three stops and I did two
stops, like two different strategies and the result was similar. There
was hardly any time between us as we crossed the finish line.
just always a surprise in IndyCar, I think. You can never predict; you
can never assume going into a race. You just have to be smart as it
"This was a very sweet victory because I've been on
pole here in 2009, '10 and '11, and it just frustrated me that every
year something would happen and I couldn't win. Once again this weekend,
I'm starting 12th and I felt as though, 'That's impossible to win. I've
got another bad year at Long Beach.
"But it was just a good race. I pushed hard all the time, no mistakes, great strategy, and just a great team effort again."
The team effort has led Will Power and Team Penske to the top of the
IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings by 24 points over team-mate
Helio Castroneves heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Power has won the
past two years running.
Last year, after not converting the Long Beach pole into a podium (he
finished 10th in the third race of the season), Power was seven points
to the rear of Dario Franchitti. He wound up second in the standings -
by 18 points, which included eight bonus points for a corresponding
numbers of pole wins -- for the second consecutive year.
Power added that the team effort is spread across the organization,
which has swept the three races (Castroneves winning the season opener
on the streets of St. Petersburg). The Long Beach IndyCar Series win was
Team Penske's first since 2001, when Castroneves prevailed.
"I think it's just that they've been probably one of the best prepared with the new car," Power said. "We
did a lot of miles (since manufacturer testing began in November).
Chevy has worked very hard, and obviously our first hit of the year ‑‑
obviously the 10‑spot grid penalty was a precautionary thing and didn't
affect us too badly.
"To me, it has been hard work. I think my guys feel very confident no matter where we start now that it's always possible."
A hand thrust through the air by
former ChamCar World Series driver Will Power denotes the joy of winning
(for the second time) the grand dame of all American open-wheel
temporary street course races - the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long
Beach. Image Credit: Myles Regan (2012)
By The Numbers - Race #3 On The Streets Of Long Beach:
Some numbers to note following the
38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third of sixteen events
planned for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
0 - Lotus-powered cars on the podium in the 2012 season.
1 - Wins at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by a Chevy-powered DW12
2 - Wins by Will Power at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in a
turbo-charged car -- one in a CCWS Panoz DP-01 and one in the
3 - Drivers who have finished in the top 10 in each of the first three
IZOD IndyCar Series events: Will Power, James Hinchcliffe and Simon
5 - Different teams represented in the top five in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
7 - Different teams represented in the top 10 in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.
9 - Lead changes in each of the first three race of the season.
Percentage points increase in viewership on NBC Sports Network (formally
Versus) over the same number of races in 2011.
11 - Positions gained from race start and consecutive races led by Will Power dating to 2011.
11.5 - Average starting position for Will Power in his two wins in 2012.
13 - Positions gained by James Hinchcliffe in securing P3 podium position standing with Simon Pagenaud - P2 and Will Power - P1.
15 - Positions gained by Tony Kanaan and JR Hildebrand in the Toyota
Grand Prix of Long Beach, most of any drivers… Positions gained by
Kanaan in IZOD IndyCar Series standings by finishing fourth at Long
Beach as he advanced from 26th to 11th.
24 - Points separating Will Power (127) and Helio Castroneves in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.
26 - Laps led by Simon Pagenaud -- nine more laps than he had led in his previous 20 Indy car starts.
184 - Consecutive IndyCar starts for Tony Kanaan dating to the 2001 CART race in Portland.
170,000+ - Fans who attended the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach event
weekend, according to information released by the Grand Prix Association
of Long Beach, the event promoter.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, winner Toyota Grand
Prix of Long Beach): "It's a great day for the Verizon Team Penske
Chevy. We really didn't think it was possible to win from 12th place
here because it was a two-stop race, but once again with (strategist)
Tim (Cindric), Dave (Faustino), my engineer, and all the boys we
overcame a 10-spot penalty." (About Pagenaud bump): "When Pagenaud hit
my tire, I thought he should have had a penalty for that. So I was happy
beating him because I was kind of angry at him for ruining another one
of my races." (About Pagenaud closing in on the lead in the final laps):
"They told me (Pagenaud) was coming and that I had a four-second gap
and just needed to save as much (fuel) as I could and then I ran hard at
the end, the last lap or two, and it was enough."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports, finished
second): "It was fantastic. The car was great from the beginning. The
guys, they did a great job running. We're a one-car team operation, we
don't have as much data as Penske or Ganassi, but I'm glad we're giving
them a good run for their money. One more lap, man, I would have tried I
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, finished third):
"The credit has got to go to Firestone. The tires that they bring here
are letting us race, and it's mixing things up with different tire
strategies. It was certainly exciting from where I was. I hope it was
exciting for you guys in the stands, and thanks to all the fans that
come out to the race because this is just one of the best events we go
to all year bar none. The guys up in the stand were making all the right
calls. I don't know, it's something about this race track that treats
me well and I've been trying to get this first podium. We start in the
front row and it doesn't happen.We start in the second row and it
doesn't happen, and after Barber I said to myself, 'I bet $20 bucks my
first podium comes in some bizarre circumstance where I start off in the
teens,' and sure enough, here you go."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/ Embrase - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet,
finished ninth): "Honestly I had a good race today. There were so many
yellows the team used a strategy that had me saving fuel. Once we knew
we were going to be short, I started to push hard. I would just like
people to have more respect for each other on the track. I was hit on
every side of my car. .Apart from that, I enjoyed myself today. To
start so far back and finish in the top-10 again shows I am getting
better and better, so hopefully I will have my best result two weeks
from now in Brazil."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, finished seventh):
"We just were stuck in traffic all day long. It's a real shame because I
think we had the quickest car out there and we just couldn't do
anything with it. We had a bad pit stop, the first one, and that put us
way behind and from there we couldn't go anywhere. It was just a really
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Auto Club Team Penske Chevrolet): "We were just
trying to finish and there were two cars in front of me and Rubens, and
Rubens was being, I think, a bit cautious and stopped the car and he
stopped too much—to the point that I obviously touched him. My intention
was never to pass him, but we ended up blocking the track."
Thank you Helio, for creating (and Myles Regan for capturing) a special
unscripted moment to make this 38th edition of the Toyota Grand Prix of
Long Beach one of the most entertaining in years ... with a post-race
celebration worthy of the event-winning moment.
Next weekend catch race #4, the IZOD IndyCar Series Itaipava Sao Paulo
Indy 300 presented by Nestle April 29, 2012: Streets of Sao Paulo. The
race will be broadcast - on cable - live on NBC Sports Channel (formally
Versus) at 11:00AM ET - SiriusXM Satellite Radio on Channel 94 - with
Live Timing & Scoring from the web here -
http://content.indycar.com/racecontrol - Also, follow the action at
Twitter with the #hashtag - #saopauloindy - Sao Paulo Indy 300
... notes from The EDJE
** Article first published as Will Power's First Celebration At The 38th Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach on Technorati **