Texas Motor Speedway played host to round 9 of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. Will Power would overcome a hectic race full of cautions to take his 31st career win.
Charlie Kimball would lead the field to green with his Ganassi Racing teammates not far behind. Max Chilton found himself falling through the field early due to getting caught out using the high line on the start.
Marco Andretti was the first driver to attempt using the high line to pass. The line hadn’t been rubbered in yet causing Andretti to be shuffled to the back.
Tristan Vautier making his first start in 2 years looked quick making his way up to second place early challenging for the lead. The returnee battled with Charlie Kimball fote the lead with Josef Newgarden making his way to the front from the seventeenth position. Both Vautier and Newgarden got passed Kimball and battle for the lead.
On lap 38 Alexander Rossi’s day ended after being squeezed by Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan sending the American spinning into the wall. Under caution, James Hinchcliffe would spin in the pit lane colliding with Helio Castroneves and Takuma Sato. Hinchcliffe was penalized while Castroneves and Sato would need repairs. All involved in the accident would continue. Polesitter Charlie Kimball’s day would end with an oil leak under the caution.
Will Power led the field to green on lap 48 with Vautier right along side him for the lead. Scott Dixon made his way into the fight for the lead. Carlos Munoz who had started in last made his way up into the top 10 early. A lap down James Hinchcliffe battle with the leaders trying to get his lap back after being penalized from the pit road incident under caution.
Josef Newgarden pit on lap 84 due to a vibration being the first to do so with the pit window opening. Green flag stops would not become a norm when Helio Castroneves hit the wall on lap 92 due to a tire going down.
On the restart, Ed Carpenter makes contact with 18 causing Carpenter to go for a full 360 spin. Not hitting anything Carpenter remained in the race but a caution would come out.
The race was back under way on lap 109 with pack racing starting to heat up for the lead. The pack racing calmed down on lap 139 with a caution for debris.
With a waved off green the race restarted on lap 147 with Max Chilton leading the race. Will Power pounced on Chilton getting the lead back before the end of the lap. Kanaan and Vautier had a few close calls while battling at the front.
The big one would strike on lap 152 with James Hinchcliffe spinning off of Tony Kanaan collecting 11 cars in the process. The crash brought out a red flag while cleanup proceed. The crash would wipe out both Schmidt Peterson Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, and Ed Carpenter Racing cars. Along with those would be Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz out of the race.
IndyCar would announce that mandatory cautions would be implemented in an attempt to save tire issues.
After 30 minutes under red flag, the cars were fired up again. Tony Kanaan would be penalized for the incident which he served under the green flag. Back underway Newgarden muscled his way back towards the front of the pack.Takuma Sato made his way to the front on lap 176.
Newgarden and his team would try to take advantage of the new ruling coming into the pits on lap 189 as the caution came out. Newgarden would be sent to the back as result of the miscommunication.
Scott Dixon’s crew got the 9 car out of the pits first under the caution. Once again Will Power took the lead right back once the green flag waved. Newgarden recovering from his team’s miscommunication found himself 3-wide fighting for the lead. However, his 3-wide move would not work out hitting the wall ending his night.
The green waved with 39 to go with Power leading. Simon Pagenaud followed teammate Power trying to escape the pack but Scott Dixon would try to keep the Penske duo from escaping. This allowed Takuma Sato to get into the mix for the lead.
The last competition yellow flew at lap 225. With 12 laps to go Power led the field to green. Once again pack racing started with Dixon and Sato trying to get pass Power. With 5 laps to go Sato clipped the grass crashing into Dixon. The incident took out Sato, Dixon, Daly, and Chilton.
The crash put the race under yellow ending the race. Will Power took the checkered to win his 31st career race and his 2nd at Texas.
image credit – www.indycar.com – Chris Jones