Will Power maintained his momentum – and Team Penske's – by leading the team to victory again Monday in the rain-delayed Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It was his second straight win since becoming a full-time driver for the squad for this season, after his spectacular triumph in the season opener in Sao Paulo two weeks ago, and his third in eight starts for Penske.
"It's just great," said Power, who led the most laps in St. Petersburg after taking the lead for good on lap 73. "It's Verizon's first year, and we're out to win the championship. I'm really happy for all the Verizon guys and my crew. Perfect pit stops, good race, perfect weekend – a pole and a win. It can't get much better than that."
Albeit on a lesser level, teammates Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves also had something to cheer in St. Petersburg, as they earned their best finishes of the young season. Briscoe rallied from his 19th starting position to a third-place finish, while Castroneves finished fourth.
Power, who started from the pole position, raced back into the lead after surrendering the point early as he got comfortable on the drying racetrack. Power was trailing E.J. Viso late in the race when Viso's KV Racing entry slowed with gearbox problems. Power made a quick move to avoid Viso and take the lead.
"I knew he had to save fuel, but then he had a problem at the end," Power said, admitting of his avoiding maneuver/pass, "That was close. It sounded like his gearbox broke. I didn't want to nail him from behind, but I knew Justin Wilson would be coming. I just picked a side and went for it."
Briscoe recovered from a poor qualifying result to get back into contention and finish on the podium. "It worked out great," Briscoe said. "Qualifying was a mess for us. I think we underestimated the competition of the field. It's so tough out there. We just had the wrong tire in qualifying, but we were fast in practice, so we knew we were going to be fast in the race. We had a plan going in to get off (pit stop) sequence, and it worked out beautifully for us."
Castroneves chased Briscoe through the final laps of the race, as the teammates trailed only Justin Wilson and Power. "All the top five guys were so close," Castroneves said. "I was just trying to be consistent and push Ryan. We're just trying to move forward and keep getting points, which is important for the championship."
Power leads the IZOD IndyCar standings after two races with 103 points. His closest competitor has 59 points.
"Obviously, it was a great result overall for Team Penske," said team president Tim Cindric. "Will has really come out of the box well in the Verizon car. To have three out of the top four spots puts us in a good position to challenge for the championship early on in the season. But we have to take it one race at a time and continue to execute on days like today, when opportunities are there."