The stars of the NTT Data IndyCar Series came together with racers from other forms of professional motorsports and the Elite Racing League for the Jacob Companies Open Wheel 250 sim race at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race saw 21 lead changes and exciting racing throughout the 100-lap affair, with a familiar face on top when the checkered flag flew.
Former Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power matched his feat from 2018 by holding off a slew of his fellow IndyCar stars and taking the win. The Team Penske driver survived multiple late yellows, including escaping a four-wide disaster up front and a Scott Andrews spin that forced the race to end under yellow.
With several late restarts playing a role in the outcome of the event, Power had to resort to his real-life experience at the 2.5-mile oval to get the job done.
“I actually lifted on some of those restarts because I thought if they get too big of a gap, they’ll get a run and get by me. What I tried to do is pack them up between turn one and two so they couldn’t get a run down the backstretch,” Power said on the Speed51 broadcast.
“I knew on one of the restarts when Stefan (Wilson) was leading I thought I have to get the lead here because that would give me the inside line and as the fuel burns down you can hold the inside and nobody could get by you. If it was a green finish I was thinking I might have to do something different, maybe try to drop back to second because Stefan would get me over the line.”
The 2014 IndyCar Series champion wasn’t even planning on running the event until two of his IndyCar Series competitors pulled their strings and talked him into it. It turned to be the right decision for Power, who took the win and had a blast while doing it.
“I’ll tell you, it was a lot of fun. Fifteen minutes before the race I was eating dinner and Josef Newgarden and James Davison both sent me texts saying 'Hey, you racing?' I said no, I’m probably not. I wasn’t going to because I wanted to rest for tomorrow’s race and then I said I might as well go down and see how it is with the fixed setup. I’m really glad I did, it was a lot of fun.”
Power even received a congratulatory message from his real-life boss in the IndyCar Series for his accomplishment after he watched the race on Speed51.
“Roger Penske sent me a text after the race. He said he watched the whole race, told me great job, congratulations. That’s a real bonus.”
Chip Ganassi Racing driver and reigning IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Felix Rosenqvist scored the runner-up spot. Fellow IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves, IMSA racer Robby Foley, and Elite Racing League owner Chad Frankenfield rounded out the top five.
Catch a replay of the Jacob Companies Open Wheel 250 for free by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3