Power Wins, Dario Franchitti Hurt In Crash
Power led the final 51 laps. Dixon led one time for 29 laps after Castroneves led the first 10 laps of the race. Dixon attempted to pass Power for the lead in the closing laps of the race before settling in for a second place finish.
“I was having fun putting pressure on Power,” Dixon said. “He was making a few mistakes here and there, and it was good to watch. It was good straight‑up racing. So, yeah, I think we ended up maybe with two or three left. I can’t remember. We tried to push one lap, I think, a couple laps from the end, you know, to see if we could push him into a mistake, and he held it together. I think he had two or three left as well. So it was a fair shot at it, and obviously we ended under caution.”
Power drove on to the 20th IndyCar win of his career after passing Dixon for the lead on a restart after Kanaan’s crash.
“The restarts are slippery anyway and I could see Scott was struggling a little bit having moments at the apex of the corners,” Power said. “He had a big moment in turn three, I got a big run and went up the inside of him in Turn 4. From that point, it was a matter of keeping him behind. I was pushing as hard as I could and he was still there.
“At the end when I went full rich I was able to pull a little bit of a gap. I got that gap and won the race.”
Team owner Roger Penske had a mixed day of emotions considering what happened to Castroneves balanced against Power’s victory.
“Look, the racing isn’t over,” Penske said. “We know that. We’ve seen this thing go up and down the last several weeks, and I think Will’s performance today shows the speed that the team has to get their car. Dixon is one of the best guys out there. To be able to stay ahead of him and not make a mistake in all the restarts.
“I think it was a great race. Sorry about the accident at the end. I hope Dario’s fine and that people are fine. But overall, we’ve been there before, and what we have to do is go to a track that we like. It’s a track we built in California. Maybe it will bring us some luck.”
Dixon’s second-place finish, however, gave him a sizable points lead.
Although it was an impressive weekend for Dixon the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston will be remembered for the last-lap crash that marred an otherwise outstanding weekend of racing.
“After I got the white flag, there was an accident in front of me that I couldn’t avoid,” Viso said. “It was Dario (Franchitti) and Takuma (Sato), and there was nothing I could do, so unfortunately we ended up being involved in that incident.”
Sato had lost four positions on the previous lap before his crash triggered the three-car pileup.
“I got in the wrong box at the start and had to go start in the very back, but we made it into the top 10,” Sato said. “My crew gave me good stops, and by the end of the race we were pretty strong, so the team did a good job on that. On the last lap, I caught the marbles and brushed the wall and lost momentum. A couple cars passed me as I was offline, and in Turn 5, the long right-hander, I got very loose, and Dario and I came together. It’s really a shame. Hopefully Dario is OK.”