With his two teammates close in pursuit, Team Penske driver, Will Power claimed his second race win at Infineon. This is the first IZOD IndyCar back to back wins at Infineon since the series came to Sonoma.
In a nearly flawless race the Australian lead his teammates around the 2.303 mile track in a Team Penske sweep. This was the first 1-2-3 sweep for the team in more than 15 years. The win comes two years after Powers was badly injured in a horrific crash during practice at Infineon in 2009.
Second place finisher and a big fan favorite, Helio Castroneves looked as though he might take the lead on a restart with just six laps remaining, but the experienced racer held back and kept all three Team Penske cars out of danger of crashing and excepted the sweep over an aggressive move contending for the win.
Local favorite, Sausalito resident JR Hildebrand seemed to continue a frustrating time since his heartbreaking second place finish at the Indianapolis 500 in May. A tough Hildebrand pushed his car as hard as he could but the speed and control of the lead cars was just too much. Throughout the race the Panther Team tried their best, but JR’s hometown track was not going to be controlled. Hildebrand continues, however, to lead James Hinchcliffe for Sunoco Rookie of the Year by just 3 points. That’s a close race to watch.
It wasn’t because of a lack desire or enthusiasm and spirit round Panther Racing’s pits and garage. Hildebrand’s car is sponsored by the National Guard on top of that IZOD IndyCar Series and Infineon Raceway honored our service men and women during opening ceremonies. These are the sorts of surprises that race fans come to enjoy live at Infineon, beyond the fabulous racing.
An exciting air show performed by The Patriots air team saluted our armed forces from their jet fighter planes, negotiating turns, flips and spirals just feet off the ground. Next to racing cars this has to be the most exhilarating experience in the world. The Infineon crowd loved it.
Popular female driver, Danica Patrick announced earlier of her departure for NASCAR, which did nothing but make her appearance at Infineon that much more of an event for her fans. There seemed to be more green and black clothing floating around the paddock than I have ever seen. Danica continued to show why she is popular with the fans and gave a lot of youngsters the attention they loved. Patrick also extended her record of consecutive series races finishes to 47 following Sonoma.
The race was an execution of team work for Team Penske. As Helio Castroneves said following the race. “It’s very rare to have starting 1-2-3 and finishing 1-2-3. All of us working really well together. The results show up today.” Helio continued, “For me, the race was great. I definitely knew Will was a little bit faster, especially from the warm-up. I noticed what he was capable of. I knew he was trying to save as much fuel as possible. We pit a little bit early, took advantage of the tires. Unfortunately, the black tires were a little bit different than what I expected. But the reds were finally up for me, like they used to be in the past. So I was very confident.” As Helio said in the beginning, for him the race was good.
Roger Penske, team owner, was all smiles as his three drivers hoisted trophies over their heads in the Winners Circle. Infineon fans were treated to a good race on a wonderfully sunny Sonoma weekend.
1. Will Power, Team Penske
2. Helio Castroneves, Team Penske
3. Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske
4. Dario Franchitti, Ganassi Racing
5. Scott Dixon, Ganassi Racing
6. Sébastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing
7. James Hinchcliffe, Newman/Haas Racing
8. Graham Rahal, Ganassi Racing
9. E. J. Viso, KV Racing Technology
10. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
11. Oriol Servia, Newman/Haas Racing
12. Martin Plowman, Schmidt/AFS Racing
13. Ana Beatriz, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
14. Sebastian Saavedra, Conquest Racing
15. Simon Pagenaud, HVM Racing
16. Mike Conway, Andretti Autosport
17. Giorgio Pantano, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
18. Takuma Sato, KV Racing Technology
19. James Jakes, Dale Coyne Racing
20. Alex Tagliani, Sam Schmidt Motorsports
21. Danica Patrick, Andretti Autosport
22. Vitor Meira, A. J. Foyt Racing
23. J. R. Hildebrand, Panther Racing
24. Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport
25. Ed Carpenter, Sarah Fisher Racing
26. Charlie Kimball, Ganassi Racing
27. Ho-Pin Tung, Schmidt/Dragon Racing
28. Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology