Photo: Shawn Gritzmacher
The Milwaukee Mile oval has hosted auto racing since 1903, making it the oldest operating race track in the world. Will Power led Team Penske (Chevrolet) teammate Helio Castroneves by just 5 points coming to the race. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport, Honda) was third, 64 points back, just one point ahead of Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports, Honda). A win scores 50 points, with 4 bonus points also available each race weekend.
Hunter-Reay, who won the last two Milwaukee races, started P19, with Power on the pole next to Tony Kanaan (Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevy). Pagenaud lined up P16. Juan Pablo Montoya (Penske) and Ryan Briscoe (Ganassi) made up Row 2. By the end of Lap 21 Power led Kanaan by 1.2 sec.
By Lap 35 Power had stretched his lead to 2 sec, but it was back under 1 sec at the end of Lap 50. Power and Kanaan pitted during Lap 59, leaving Montoya in the lead before pitting himself the next lap. Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing, Chevy) was the last to pit, coming in during Lap 63.
Kanaan dueled Power for first place through Laps 66 and 67. Briscoe ran third after the first pit cycle. Hunter-Reay had moved up to P6. Power’s lead on Kanaan during Lap 95 was back to 2.24 sec and out to 3.024 sec at the end of Lap 100. Briscoe came into the pits on Lap 112 (of 250). Kanaan came in from second two laps later. Power pitted during Lap 122. Kanaan took the lead, followed by Power and Briscoe.
Kanaan’s lead at Lap 127 was 2.2 sec, but Power was only going to need one more stop. The race’s first yellow came out during Lap 132 after Carlos Munoz (Andretti) hit the wall. Kanaan and Briscoe both pitted during the caution, effectively evening the pit strategy with Power. Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Honda) moved up to second but was still going to have to pit twice.
The green flag waved to start Lap 141. Kanaan quickly passed Newgarden to retake second, with Montoya moving into third within the first several laps.
Power came in for his last stop during Lap 188. Kanaan came in four laps later and Montoya on the next lap. Montoya returned to the track in front of Kanaan. With 33 laps to go Power held a 1.778-sec lead. Power stretched it to 3.3 sec with 24 left. With 12 laps to go, the lead was 1.5 sec; 2.4 sec with seven left.
Power won, his first at Milwaukee, to build his points lead over Castroneves to 39, exclaiming “I love winning on ovals!” as he coasted after the line. Montoya finished second, Kanaan third, Scott Dixon (Ganassi) fourth, and Newgarden fifth.