Will Power was the fastest man of the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, but was forced to start ninth in Sunday's 90-lap event due to a fluke red flag on his hot lap in the second qualifying session yesterday.
Power set a track record in the first qualifying session, but was held out of a top six starting spot on a road course for the first time since early last season.
Power admitted he was very worried that he'd get to victory lane today since no IndyCar driver had won a road couse race after starting as far back on the grid as Power did on Sunday since 2008 in St. Pete.
Despite the odds, Power prevailed and won in Barber for the second straight season, droving the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Chevrolet to Victory Lane for the 16th time in his career. Power gained the lead on a late pit sequece by passing runner-up Scott Dixon as Dixon was coming off of pit road, and never looked back.
The second-place finish for Dixon was his third straight runner-up finish in Barber in the first three races in the event's history, and the second straight race this season that Dixon has came home the bridesmaid, as he was also runner-up last week to Helio Castroneves in St. Pete. The No. 9 Target Honda was the most dominant car overall, as Dixon led a race high 38 laps.
Dixon took over the lead for the first time on lap 27 as pole sitter and third-place finisher Helio Castroneves pitted from the lead on lap 25, relinquishing the lead to James Hinchcliffe. The next lap Hinchcliffe and Dixon pitted, and Graham Rahal took over the race lead for a lap. After a great pit stop to get ahead of Hinchcliffe, Dixon came out ahead of Helio Castronves, and took over the lead when Rahal pitted.
Dixon held on to the lead all the way until the next round of stops as Power had a remarkable stop like Dixon did on the first sequence, with Power moving ahead of Dixon when he came out of the pits.
Graham Rahal finished fourth, while rookie Simon Pagenaud with home fifth with a remarkable drive to score the first top-5 of his career.
James Hinchcliffe was looking like he'd finish in the top five, but due to a bad late restart, Hinchcliffe was passed by Rahal and Pagenaud, and wound up coming home sixth.
The best drives of the day came from drivers that finished in the bottom half of the top ten. Mike Conway had contact with just about everyone in the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Honda, but stayed strong enough to finish seventh. Rookie Rubens Barrichello got stronger as the race went on and came home a career-best eighth. Sebastien Bourdais silenced the doubters of the Lotus cars, and drove to a remarkable ninth place finish in the Dragon Racing stable.
Everyone was questioning how well the Lotus cars would do after Bourdais' car stalled on the first lap in the warm-up session this morning, and fellow Lotus engine member Alex Tagliani's car brought out a full course caution after stalling in Turn 5 on the opening lap.
However, Bourdais had a solid drive and brought home the No. 7 McAfee Lotus ninth.
Rounding out the top ten was three-time defending champion Dario Franchitti. Franchitti has had a struggling start to the season, but passed Marco Andretti on the last lap to bring home a top ten finish.
The race saw passing and great action all day, as five drivers led at least one lap.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will head to Long Beach in two weekends for the 38th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Mike Conway is the race's defending champion as the series will head out west after the Easter weekend break.
1. 12 Will Power
2. 9 Scott Dixon
3. 3 Helio Castroneves
4. 38 Graham Rahal
5. 77 Simon Pagenaud (R)
6. 27 James Hinchcliffe
7. 14 Mike Conway
8. 8 Rubens Barrichello (R)
9. 7 Sebastien Bourdais
10. 10 Dario Franchitti
11. 26 Marco Andretti
12. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay
13. 22 Oriol Servia
14. 2 Ryan Briscoe
15. 4 J.R. Hildebrand
16. 19 James Jakes
17. 67 Josef Newgarden (R)
18. 5 E.J. Viso -1 Lap
19. 18 Justin Wilson -1 Lap
20. 78 Simona de Silvestro -1 Lap
21. 11 Tony Kanaan -1 Lap
22. 20 Ed Carpenter -2 Laps
23. 6 Katherine Legge (R) -5 Laps
24. 15 Takuma Sato Out
25. 83 Charlie Kimball Out
26. 98 Alex Tagliani Out
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