Will Power survived what he described as the "toughest race of the whole year" to be crowned the inaugural winner of IndyCar's half of the Baltimore Grand Prix.
In warm and humid conditions, Power triumphed on an eventful afternoon that included a pile-up involving nearly half the field to cross the line just over 10sec ahead of Newman/Haas Racing's Oriol Servia.
"I've never driven so hard in my whole life," Power said. "I gave it absolutely everything. I'm exhausted. I reckon that's probably one of my best race wins ever."
The result brings Power to within five points of IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Dario Franchitti.
Tony Kanaan recovered from an airborne crash during warm-up that forced him to start from the back of the field to finish a remarkable third, the Brazilian's result being achieved through a combination of good strategy, good race pace and a bit of opportunism when the pile-up took place on lap 37.
The crash, which occurred on a restart following an earlier caution period, was triggered when Ryan Briscoe made contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay while trying to pass the Andretti driver for fourth at Turn 3. Hunter-Reay spun, triggering a huge concertina behind him.
Briscoe was penalized for his role in the incident, but remarkably only Giorgio Pantano and James Jakes were forced out with damage. Nevertheless, the traffic jam prompted a dramatic reshuffle of the order between positions six and 28.
“The Orioles' wings were with Oriol today. Nobody has doubts," declared a delighted Servia, who credited his team's tactics with his second-place finish. "There's a reason why Newman/Haas Racing has over 100 victories – they just had a tough season last year. Here we are again. We're fourth in points and fighting for the podium every race, and there's more to come.
"I crashed in qualifying but we never gave up. The car was great and the strategy was even better. Newman/Haas always works hard and we are bringing Telemundo to the podium which is great. I knew if I didn't make any mistakes, the podium was ours. Since we pitted early on the first stop, we knew we were kind of committing to that strategy. We were hoping for more yellows but we had just enough fuel."
Franchitti finished fourth; the Scot surviving a brush with the inside wall that knocked him into a half-spin. The Target Chip Ganassi racer was on target for second, but lost out when he rejoined the track after his final stop to find himself in a train of cars that had formed behind Servia, allowing Power to escape down the road.
Franchitti's teammate Scott Dixon managed fifth despite suffering two punctures, with Danica Patrick sixth.
Results - 75 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Will Power Penske 2h02m19.4998s
2. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas + 10.2096s
3. Tony Kanaan KV + 10.8557s
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi + 11.0831s
5. Scott Dixon Ganassi + 11.5032s
6. Danica Patrick Andretti + 17.7124s
7. Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt + 18.5661s
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti + 18.9269s
9. Vitor Meira Foyt + 22.3096s
10. Graham Rahal Ganassi + 22.6977s
11. Martin Plowman AFS/Sam Schmidt + 23.7405s
12. Simona de Silvestro HVM + 24.7568s
13. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest + 29.6042s
14. Ryan Briscoe Penske + 30.9855s
15. EJ Viso KV + 50.6756s
16. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold + 60.5667s
17. Helio Castroneves Penske + 1 lap
18. Takuma Sato KV + 2 laps
19. JR Hildebrand Panther + 2 laps
20. Ed Carpenter Sarah Fisher + 2 laps
21. Charlie Kimball Ganassi + 2 laps
22. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold + 4 laps
23. Mike Conway Andretti + 11 laps
James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas 54 laps
Marco Andretti Andretti 40 laps
Giorgio Pantano Dreyer & Reinbold 39 laps
James Jakes Dale Coyne 37 laps
Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne 9 laps