GOOGLE/AFP – BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Australian Will Power shrugged off his qualifying disappointment to win Sunday’s IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park, capturing the title in Alabama for the second straight year.
Last year Power led all 90 laps from the pole. This time around he started ninth on the grid, after his qualifying lap was disallowed amid a caution period.
The Australian worked his way up to second, seized the lead after his final pit stop, then held off New Zealand’s Scott Dixon over the final 16 laps to win by 3.3709 seconds.
“That was an awesome race,” Power said. “We slowly passed one by one. It was a very good team effort, absolute team effort. The strategy was perfect. The stops were perfect.
“We were quick when we needed to be, put ourselves in a position to win, which I did not think was possible this morning.”
Dixon nabbed his second runner-up finish in as many races. He was second to Brazil’s Helio Castroneves in the March 25 season-opener at St. Petersburg, Florida.
Castroneves was third, ahead of Graham Rahal with France’s Simon Pagenaud fifth.
“It was a tough race, and huge congratulations to Team Penske and obviously Will, coming from so deep in the field to come back and get on top,” said Dixon, who had surrendered the lead when he pitted for the last time on lap 66.
“It shows they have a strong team.”
Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello, making his second IndyCar start, and France’s Sebastien Bourdais made statements with top-10 finishes, Barrichello eighth and Bourdais ninth in a Lotus.
“It’s hard to be happy with a top 10, but starting so far back (14th) and at some points in the race even further back, I think it was a positive that I was able to work my way back through the field,” Barrichello said.