INDIANAPOLIS — Will Power spent the week seeking redemption, and in the end he found it in a familiar spot: Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course.
Six days after enduring one of the most frustrating races of his IndyCar career, the 40-year-old Australian who drives for Team Penske took an early lead, pulled away from the field and held on for his first win of the season, beating Romain Grosjean to the yard of bricks by 1.1142 seconds.
"Big relief, big relief, especially for my guys on the team," Power said. "I just told myself, 'I'm getting this bloody restart, there's no way I'm giving this race away.' "
It was a milestone trip to victory lane, too.
His 40th career win broke a tie with Al Unser for fifth on IndyCar' all-time list. Power also matched NASCAR star Kyle Busch's record for wins at IMS, the speedway and road course combined, with his sixth. Busch has four wins in the Xfinity Series and two in the Cup Series on the famed Brickyard oval. Power, who won the 2018 Indianapolis 500, has won five times on the road course, equaling the mark former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher set in the U.S. Grand Prix.
Power, who started second, desperately needed this one. He finished 14th last Sunday on the streets of Nashville, squeezing one teammate, Simon Pagenaud, into a wall early in the Music City Grand Prix and later colliding with another teammate, Scott McLaughlin.
"Certainly, the incident with McLaughlin was not good," said Power, who noted he didn't see team owner Roger Penske after the race in Nashville. "I thought, 'I need to win a race before I speak to him again.' Fortunately I did that."
It came with some consternation.
After building a lead of 9.5 seconds midway through the race, Power got hung up in traffic as Dale Coyne Racing's Grosjean and Andretti Autosports' Colton Herta chased him. Both closed to fewer than four seconds when the first of two late cautions came out because season points leader Alex Palou appeared to blow an engine.
That bunched up the lead pack and gave both cars a chance to pass. Herta never got close on the restart on the 71st of 85 laps.
"I don't really think we had anything for Power or Grosjean, so we're happy with third," Herta said.
Instead, Power started pulling away again only to see another yellow flag come out. This time he got a huge jump, and with Grosjean out of the extra push-to-pass boost, nobody got close to the 2014 series champ.
"I thought it was a good fight," said Grosjean, who finished second for the second straight time on Indy's road course. "He went early, and we just couldn't quite keep up with him."
Alexander Rossi was fourth for Andretti. Arrow McLaren SP's Pato O'Ward started in pole position but finished fifth — well behind Power, who led 56 laps and finally got to celebrate.
"Roger loves when you win, let me tell you," he said. "He loves it."
Power wasn't happy about being in traffic when O'Ward was warming his tires in Friday's qualifying, and he wasn't any happier about James Hinchcliffe racing him to stay on the lead lap.
"It's crazy that you're racing some guy that's a lap down, that's having a bad day," he said. "They've got to change that; it's a simple fix. They've got to change it."
Palou looked like he was going to pad his points lead when he was running fourth with 17 laps to go — well ahead of Scott Dixon, who's second in the points standings. Then, suddenly, a puff of smoke appeared from the back of the No. 10 Honda and the powerless car rolled to a stop.
"It's a shame when you're running so good," Palou said.
With Palou finishing 27th in the 28-car field, everybody else made up ground. O'Ward passed Dixon for second, 21 points behind. Dixon, who started with a 42-point deficit, now trails by 34 as he seeks to repeat as IndyCar champion and win his seventh title overall. Two-time series champ Josef Newgarden remained fourth, 55 points behind.
"The big positive today, unfortunately for Alex I think his engine blew, and that gave us a massive jump in the points," O'Ward said. "Today we just didn't have it. I'm glad we didn't finish on the podium, because we didn't deserve it."
After Dixon spun the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 9 Honda on his final lap in qualifying, things didn't get any better Saturday.
He started 26th, in the second-to-last row, but thought he could make up ground with pit strategy. It didn't work. After being the first driver onto pit row just 10 laps into the race, Dixon wound up finishing 17th in a race that had only the two late yellow flags.