INDIANAPOLIS — In the largest IndyCar field outside of the Indianapolis 500 in a decade, Will Power beat 27 other cars to win his first race of 2021 in Saturday’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix.
In a race with minimal yellows, perfect pit strategy was key to any kind of success. That’s typically the trend around the Indianapolis road course, and in a down year for Team Penske, great pit strategy was necessary to get their season turned around. It was just the second win for Team Penske this season.
The race was relatively uneventful until about 20 laps to go. While running in the top 5, points leader Alex Palou blew an engine to bring out the first full-course caution of the day. Scoring minimal points from a DNF, the championship leader saw his advantage in the championship drop to just 21 points over Pato O’Ward.
On the subsequent restart, Power’s lead increased when Colton Herta and Romain Grosjean battled for the second position. Grosjean, who won the pole and finished 2nd at the GMR Grand Prix in May, couldn’t chase down Power in the closing laps.
Grosjean had one more chance to pass Power after Rinus VeeKay, May’s GMR Grand Prix winner, stalled in Turn 7 to bring out the second and final full-course yellow. That set up a 6-lap dash for the win.
It looked like Grosjean would be able to attack Power on the restart, but Grosjean had run out of push to pass, whereas Power had over a minute of the extra horsepower boost remaining.
As the laps ticked away, Power was able to gap Grosjean during the sprint to the finish and cruise to his fifth career victory on the IMS road course and sixth career win at IMS overall. Grosjean scored his second podium on the IMS road course while Colton Herta rounded out the podium, earning redemption for his late race crash that cost him victory in Nashville.