FORT WORTH (Sports Network) – Will Power had the luck of the draw for the second race in Saturday night’s Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway.
Power, who selected the third starting spot during a random draw for the final 114-lap event, grabbed the lead from pole sitter Tony Kanaan on lap 39 and then dominated from there to claim his first win on an oval track in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
“This means so much to me and the [team]; we’ve been chasing this for so long,” Power said. “It was just a great race and a lot of fun.”
Just prior to his final pit stop for fuel with less than 10 laps remaining, Power had to swerve sharply to the left to avoid hitting Graham Rahal, who had slowed on the track after running out of gas.
“I wasn’t sure which way [Rahal] was going, so I just committed to the inside, but that was close,” Power said.
Power took the lead for the final time with six laps remaining. He finished 0.95 seconds ahead of Scott Dixon, who started 18th.
It was Power’s ninth career IndyCar win. His first eight victories came on road/street courses, including Birmingham, AL and Sao Paulo, Brazil this season.
“It just gives us confidence,” he said of his first oval win. “We knew we could do it last year. Now, my boys know that we can execute and win ovals, as well as road courses. This is what we need to win a championship.”
Power’s Team Penske teammates Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves finished third and fourth, respectively. A Penske driver has won five of the last seven IndyCar races at Texas.
Kanaan wound up finishing fifth, while Marco Andretti took the sixth spot.
Dario Franchitti, who won the first twin race earlier in the evening, placed seventh in the second event. Franchitti selected the 28th starting spot in the 30-car grid during a random draw, which was held immediately after the first race.
“Racing is about skill, but tonight’s second race was just a lottery,” a frustrated Franchitti said. “The grid positions for the first race were based on who did the best job. Rather than inverting the field, so we’re all in the same boat, [IndyCar] does this lottery thing, and we saw the result.
“Worst case scenario for us is that we passed all those cars, but Will drives off and wins the race by pure luck of pulling that number. I’m just [ticked] off.”
Dixon, who finished second in both races, shared the same thoughts of his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate about the random draw.
“I think we both got hosed,” Dixon said. “Obviously, we had to pick from the 18th starting position or 28th. What I think they need to do if they are going to have a gimmick like this, they need to give you an extra point for each car you pass as well.”
Danica Patrick finished eighth, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso.
The second twin 275 ran caution free. It also moved at blistering pace of 206.693 m.p.h., making it the second fastest race in series history.
Power now holds a 21-point lead over Franchitti, while Dixon is 70 points behind.
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