Event Coverage: 2018 IndyCar Grand Prix


Dixon hung on to second and Robert Wickens came home in a well deserved third.  Behind them, Sebastian Bourdais and Alexander Rossi filled the top 5, and Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal, and Takuma Sato rounded out the top 10.  A good portion of the field ended up running out of fuel on the parade lap and required a tow back to the garages!
It would be easy to lump this Indy GP in with the others: pole sitter leads the most laps and wins easily.  *YAWN* But that’s not true at all. Power had to drive like a bat out of hell to hold off both Wickens in the early part of the race, and Dixon at the end.  Afterwards, Will claimed this was the first race he had ever run where he had to run qualifying laps the entire day. In his previous Indy GP wins, he was able to cruise all day long, but for 2018, Power had to worm hard.  In fact he worked himself so hard, he was quite dehydrated and had to get some water into his system before he could celebrate on the podium!
Not only was this Will’s 33rd IndyCar win (which include his wins in the ChampCar World Series), but it was his 30th with the Penske organization.  On top of that, it was Team Penske’s 200th IndyCar win, a massive achievement.  Power and Castroneves each share 30 wins apiece with the Captain.  While Will was certainly happy to win the 200th for Roger, he desperately wants to win the very next race…the Indy 500!  Power has been close, coming within a lap of winning it in 2015 and he has always been quick at Indy, so be on the lookout for Power.
Wickens had a very impressive drive with his podium finish.  He got robbed of a maiden win at St Pete when he got bumped out of the lead, but he has been fast at every track IndyCar has been to in 2018.  On top of his speed, the Indy GP was the first time in his career where he had to save fuel. As Wickens put it “That was the first race where I kind of felt like a true rookie in that final stint because I’ve never had to save fuel before. We’ve kind of practiced it a little bit in warm-up where you do like one lap of fuel save…In winter testing, you always put it on the list – “We’re going to practice a long run with fuel save” – and then obviously the engineers get greedy, you end up doing setup change, setup change, setup change, and you run out of time, and don’t end up doing it.”  The fact he was able to make it to the end shows the talent Wickens possesses. It’s only a matter of time before he starts winning races and as Power put it, “…he’s definitely a guy that will be a champion in IndyCar.”
Dixon’s drive to the front was even more impressive.  It’s not a surprise that Dixon can carve up an IndyCar field like a Christmas turkey: the real surprise was that he had to in the first place.  As Dixon put it, “A team like ours shouldn’t be as lost as we were.” When asked where he and his Chip Ganassi team found the added speed between qualifying and the race, Dixon responded, “Man, that’s a long list! Dampers, springs, geometry, cambers… It was pretty much everything.  I think we even threw a kitchen sink in there.”

As this is being published, the oval cars have already made their first practice laps on the oval and the next time you see us, we’ll be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for qualifying for the 102nd Indianapolis 500.  Stay tuned!


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