PORTLAND, OR (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Will Power took home the victory in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.
“It was a pretty tough race for the Verizon Chevy,” said Power. “I’m exhausted. I’m mentally exhausted and just so stoked to get into Victory Lane.”
Power was running second on Lap 52 when Scott Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda suddenly lost electrical power while the 5-time and defending series Champion had a three-second lead on the rest of the field.
“I hate giving away an easy win like that,” said Dixon. “We just lost power and when that happens you can’t shift and you can’t use the clutch. Luckily, we were able to get to pit lane so the crew could get us back to the pit box.”
Dixon’s “Wolfpack” crew replaced a battery that had failed. The replacement cost Dixon three laps on pit road. The “iceman” returned to the race and soldiered home with a 16th place finish.
“Obviously, not the result that we wanted with the PNC Bank car,” said Dixon. “We had a great car and it was clean sailing out front for us in the lead. The team did a great job.”
Last year at Portland Lady Luck shined on Dixon as he survived a first-lap melee but the last two weeks she has been cruel to the No. 9 team. Two weeks ago at World Wide Technology Raceway a piece of debris found its way through a protective screen and put a hole in the radiator of the PNC Bank Honda.
“The last two races haven’t been the best in terms of luck for us, but we’ll just focus now on winning at Laguna Seca.” said Dixon.
Dixon’s teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, continued his strong second-half of the season, finishing second to Power. The 2nd place finish was Rosenqvist’s second podium finish in the last 4-races.
“I thought it was a great race for us in the NTT Data Honda,” said Rosenqvist. “The team really did a nice job. We moved up from P5 to P2 and it’s a strong result. We had really good pace on the red (Firestone Alternate) tires, but Will Power and Penske did a little bit better on black (Firestone Primary) tires. I think we were stronger than Chevy on fuel mileage.”
Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi rounded out the podium with a third place finish in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda.
“We maximized what we had,” said Rossi. “I don’t think we had a race-winning car. “Starting in seventh and finishing on the podium is a good day.”
Rossi’s third place finish leaves him 41-points behind points-leader Josef Newgarden, who finished fifth. Simon Pagenaud sits third in the Championship hunt, one point behind Rossi and 42-points out of the top spot.
Double-points are on the line in the next race, The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, the season finale, Sunday September 22nd at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.