Power fends off Castroneves at Edmonton
24 July 2011 – Will Power overcame Penske team-mate Hélio Castroneves to claim his fourth win of the season at Edmonton, holding the Brazilian at bay during a tense end to the 80-lap race. The 2010 runner-up moved into the lead on Lap 19, taking the chequered flag just ahead of Castroneves, while Ganassi's Dario Franchitti completed the podium.
Pole-sitter Takuma Sato pulled away well as the race began, maintaining his lead while Ganassi’s Scott Dixon jumped past Power for second. Just a few corners later, home favourite Alex Tagliani ran straight into the back of Graham Rahal, before the latter lost control of his car with a left-rear puncture and slid into the path of Paul Tracy.
This led to the first caution period, with marshalls working to move Sebastian Saavedra - who was left with nowhere to go behind Tracy - off the racing line. KV Racing's Sato held onto his lead as the Pace Car came in at the end of Lap 5, with Power making his way up to second at the hairpin. The Japanese driver stayed up front for the next few laps, keeping a relatively comfortable gap to Power behind.
Power went on to get past Sato on Lap 19, however, with Ganassi drivers Dixon and Dario Franchitti stormed through just moments later. This left the ex-Formula 1 pilot down in fourth, quickly losing all of his hard work. Lap 25 proved to be a pivotal moment, as Spain's Oriol Servià was pitched violently into the Turn 12 barriers by Britain’s Mike Conway.
This crucially led to the Safety Car being deployed again, sparking a flurry of pit-lane activity on the following lap. All of the front runners dived into the pits for fuel and tyres, as most drivers opted to take advantage of the caution. Power retained his lead ahead of Dixon, but Sato lost even more ground after being jumped by Ryan Briscoe.
Conway was the man to lead the field away as the race returned to green flag conditions on Lap 30, although Power instantly disposed of the Andretti pilot who was yet to pit. Sato promptly surged up to second, just a couple of corners before E.J. Viso struck the back of Dixon’s car and forced the Ganassi man to pit for a lengthy repair job.
Sato’s hopes of victory were dashed after being tapped around by Ryan Hunter-Reay on the 40th lap, falling to the tail of the field because of the contact. Once again the Safety Car remained stationary, but a drive-through penalty was later issued to the American for his ambitious move. Power made his final stop a handful of tours later on Lap 54, rejoining ahead of Castroneves as the race entered its closing stages.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Power on his way to the chequered flag, suffering from apparent brake issues late on. Castroneves did his best to force the Australian into a mistake, but failed to find a way through in the final few laps, leading home championship leader Franchitti who lost a total of 17 points to Power in the title fight.
Tony Kanaan was ultimately the highest placed KV Racing driver in fourth after Sato's misfortune, narrowly beating Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais. Ryan Hunter-Reay recovered to seventh after his penalty ahead of Mike Conway, while the latter's Andretti team-mate Danica Patrick led home tenth place man Ryan Briscoe.
Round 11 of the championship takes place in Mid-Ohio in a fortnight's time