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INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power won the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday for his first IndyCar victory of the season, leading 65 of 82 laps on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Team Penske star and defending IndyCar series champion held off a surprisingly strong run from Graham Rahal's Honda-powered car. The American finished second, 1.5023 seconds behind the Australian winner. Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya, Power's teammate, was third.
Power's first career win at Indy also gave team owner Roger Penske his 16th series win at the track — his first on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.
The pole-winner avoided a five-car crash in the first turn that sent Scott Dixon from second to 23rd. It was the only major crash on a day Power couldn't be caught.
Five drivers have won races this season, four with Chevy engines.
While Power dominated, surrendering the lead during pit shuffles, it sure wasn't easy.
He called it one of the most physical races he's been involved in, and Rahal, who took advantage of the crash to move from 17th to sixth and continually pressured Power. He just couldn't pass him.
Power took the lead for good on Lap 63.
Defending race champion Simon Pagenaud, who also drives for Penske, retired after 57 laps because of mechanical problems. He finished last in the 25-car field.
France's Sebastien Bourdias and American Charlie Kimball rounded out the top five.
Still, it was an impressive performance for Honda, which has struggled for most of the season.
Team Penske has won all five poles this season and the Chevrolet-powered cars claimed the top 10 starting spots for Saturday's race. But Rahal earned his second straight second-place finish and Japan's Takuma Sato finished ninth.
Montoya's strong run allowed him to expand his points lead over Helio Castroneves to 171-166 over Power, who jumped fifth to second in the standings. Rahal and Dixon are now tied for third with 144 points.
Castroneves finished sixth.
Over the next 42 hours, teams and track workers in Indy will make the transition to racing on the speedway's more traditional 2.5-mile oval. Indianapolis 500 practice opens Monday, qualifying will be held next weekend and the race is scheduled for May 24.