Power widens points lead in IndyCar with Milwaukee win


The Sports Network

West Allis, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Will Power took a big step towards winning his first IndyCar Series championship by winning Sunday's 250-mile race at The Milwaukee Mile and adding to his points lead.

Power started on the pole and put on a dominating performance by leading 229 of 250 laps. He held off challenges from Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya, his teammate at Team Penske, late in the race. Power beat Montoya to finish line by 2.8 seconds, while Kanaan crossed the line in third (4.4 seconds behind).

"The handling was awesome," Power said. "We hardly made any adjustments over the whole race. Full credit to the [No. 12 Penske] team for giving me such a great car."

With just two races left, Power holds a 39-point lead over second-place and teammate Helio Castroneves, who finished 11th.

"There are still two more races to go, and I will be there, ready to go," Castroneves said. "We are not giving up at all."

It's the first time Power has won at Milwaukee, a flat one-mile racetrack, and just his third victory on an oval in IndyCar competition. His other wins on ovals occurred in 2011 at Texas (race 2) and last year's season-finale at Auto Club Speedway.

"It feels great," Power said after his win at Milwaukee. "I really love winning on ovals. They've become my favorite tracks. This year, every oval I've gone to I had so much fun. Texas, I felt we should have won that race but got a bloody drive-through [penalty]. Pocono, as well, felt I should have won that race but got a drive-through. We were strong and led a bunch of laps there. Indy was the same, another bloody drive-through. This one I didn't."

Power scored his third victory of the season and the 24th of his IndyCar career, which placed him in a tie with Bobby Rahal and Ralph DePalma for 16th on the series' all-time race winners list. Power won the March 30 season- opener in St. Petersburg, Florida and the May 31 event in Detroit (the first race of the weekend doubleheader there).

Scott Dixon, the three-time and defending series champion, finished fourth after he won the most recent race two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio. Josef Newgarden was fifth.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had won the previous two IndyCar races at Milwaukee, finished 21st after he suffered a suspension problem late in the event.

"It was something with the right rear," Hunter-Reay said. "The CV joint popped out or something. Every time I would go back to power, it would squat big time. It wasn't drivable. We had a great start."

Earlier in the day, Hunter-Reay announced that he has signed a three-year contract extension with Michael Andretti's team. Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion and winner of this year's Indianapolis 500, has driven for Andretti Autosport since 2010. It was also announced that DHL will remain as his team's primary sponsor for the next three years.

"Just signed a three-year deal with Andretti Autosport and DHL, so I'm very happy about that, but I wish I could have gotten them a win today."

Hunter-Reay dropped from third to fourth in the standings. He is now 108 points behind Power. Simon Pagenaud, who finished seventh, trails by 92 points.

The series heads to Sonoma Raceway in Northern California next weekend and then concludes its season the following week at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California.

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