Will Power loves racing in Brazil.
Power won IndyCar’s Sao Paulo 300 for the third straight time on Sunday, finishing ahead of Ryan Hunter Reay on the 2.5-mile, 11-turn Anhembi circuit. The Australian was hardly challenged on the streets of South America’s biggest city.
Takuma Sato had a great run to finish third for his first podium after starting only 25th and Brazilian Helio Castroneves was fourth after starting 18th. Three-time defending series champion Dario Franchitti recovered from an early spin to finish fifth.
It was Power’s third straight victory after four races this season, and Penske’s fourth straight. It’s the first time the team has won four in a row to start the season, dating to the introduction of CART in 1979. Penske also won the first three races of the year in 2010.
Power was coming off victories in Alabama and Long Beach and his triumph in Brazil helped him increase his series points lead heading into the Indy 500 next month.
“Definitely good for the points, the biggest one is next race and we’ll try to make it four in a row,” Power said.
Weather was a concern as it rained hard during the morning practice session and it was expected to rain all day on Sunday, but the race started and finished on a mostly dry track. There was a light drizzle during the race, but not enough to get the track wet.
Rain had affected the Sao Paulo race every year since it joined the IndyCar calendar in 2010. It was pushed back to Monday last season, and the inaugural race was red flagged and finished at the two-hour limit after resuming.
Eight drivers were involved in a crash at a restart with eight laps to go. Although there was little contact between the cars, the track was blocked as the cars tried to make it through the first chicane.
Rubens Barrichello, in his first race at home since joining IndyCar this season after a 19-year career in Formula One, ran as high as third but fell to 10th at the end. Castroneves was the best Brazilian finisher.
Mike Neff gave John Force Racing its sixth straight Funny Car victory to open the season, beating Ron Capps in the final of the NHRA Spring Nationals at Baytown, Texas.
Neff had a pass of 4.239 seconds at 301.67 mph at Royal Purple Raceway, while Capps hazed the tires and finished in 4.476 at 211.79.
John Force won the season-opening Winternationals and Robert Hight took the next four events.
Morgan Lucas won the Top Fuel competition, Vincent Nobile topped the Pro Stock field, and Andrew Hines took the Pro Stock Motorcycle division.