The month of May is one that Verizon IndyCar Series fans look forward to every year as the series heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The first race of the month is held on the track’s infield road course: the IndyCar Grand Prix.
Will Power started on the pole position after setting a new track record on Friday. On the first lap, Tony Kanaan made contact with Marco Andretti, spinning the Brazilian and forcing him to pit for new tires. Andretti was also required to report to pit road to serve his drive-through penalty as punishment for the incident. Three laps later, Sébastien Bourdais suffered an engine, exited the track in turn one and retired from the race.
Power led the early stage of the race, leading until he pitted on lap 25. Team Penske teammate Hélio Castroneves inherited the lead as a result, developing a decent margin over Power as he ran on the faster red tires compared to Power’s black. Castroneves led for 20 laps until he made his stop on lap 40, surrendering the lead back to Power. A slow stop for Castroneves enabled Power to secure his lead. At the same point in the race, Charlie Kimball’s car began to leak fluid, forcing him to exit the race on lap 45.
On lap 64, Josef Newgarden was penalized for speeding on pit road; as he served his drive-through penalty, he suffered another penalty for speeding yet again. Mikhail Aleshin was also tagged for hitting his team’s equipment while pitting.
Behind Power, Castroneves battled with Scott Dixon for 2nd, the latter taking the position on lap 69. Castroneves, who was on the black tires after his stop, began to fall. Power continued to lead for the remainder of the race, leading 51 of 85 laps en route to his 30th IndyCar win, second at the GP of Indy (first being in 2015) and first of the 2017 season. 5.2 seconds behind Power, Dixon finished 2nd, while Ryan Hunter-Reay took 3rd. Simon Pagenaud finished 4th and Castroneves – the only other driver to lead laps with 24 – ended the day in 5th. Graham Rahal, who started in 20th, moved his way up the field to finish in 6th; Max Chilton finished 7th for his best career IndyCar finish, followed by Alexander Rossi, Spencer Pigot and Juan Pablo Montoya.
No cautions occurred during the race for the first time since the 2016 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Since the Champ Car/IndyCar merger in 2008, this had happened only five times: the 2009 Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the 2011 Firestone Twin 275’s second race at Texas Motor Speedway, the 2012 Edmonton Indy and Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the 2016 GP of Long Beach.
With the win, Power moved to 11th on the all-time win list, passing Helio Castroneves and Rick Mears – both Team Penske drivers – for the position.
Qualifying for the next race, the 101st Indianapolis 500, will take place on May 20–21, while the race itself will be held a week later on May 28.